A conventional high-dose ion-implanted photoresist strip and clean process flow consists of using a dry remote plasma ashing tool to remove the crust layer and underlying photoresist formed during the implant, followed by sulfuric-peroxide mixture (SPM) and ammonium hydroxide-hydrogen peroxide (SC1) chemistries applied on a wet clean tool to remove the remaining bulk photoresist and implant residues. However, film loss control and residue removal are increasingly difficult to maintain for sub-10 nm devices with conventional approaches. We investigate an alternative sequence that replaces the remote plasma strip with a thermally activated, atmospheric gas-phase oxidation process and replaces the SPM chemistry with a de-ionized water/ozone (DIO3
) wet clean. The alternative sequence is entirely processed in a modified single-wafer wet clean chamber. For the oxidation process, a dry O3
gas mixture decomposes and reacts directly with the ion-implanted photoresist wafer that is heated above 300°C from the backside. 9,000 Å/min strip rates are measured on 193 nm photoresist, and 650 Å/min are measured for the implanted crust removal. Based on both X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of the reacted surface as well as the composition of the gas phase products by residual gas analysis (RGA), the crust layer and bulk photoresist are removed by oxidation mechanisms similar to remote oxygen plasma strip processes. Above 350°C, it is found that O2
gas itself reacts with the photoresist but to a lesser extent than the O3
mixture. Reactivity to silicon is lower than a typical remote oxygen plasma based on ~1 Å silicon loss measured on blanket films. This in-situ thermally activated oxidation reaction allows for subsequent wet processing without any queue time delay. The integrated process completely removes 5E15-1E16 at/cm2
high-dose implanted 193 nm photoresist with no residue on patterned substrates.
Fig 1: In-situ thermally activated oxidation reaction in a single-wafer wet clean chamber process sequence consisting of (a) a dry ozone-oxygen gas environment, (b) ozone-oxygen decomposition and reaction on a heated wafer surface, (c) ozonated de-ionized water rinse in an N2 environment, (d) ammonium hydroxide-hydrogen peroxide clean in an N2 environment, and (e) a de-ionized water rinse and spin dry.