Multi-scale modelling and experimental analysis of ALD alumina: Interplay of process dynamics, chemistry and interfacial phenomena menée en co-tutelle entre l'INP Toulouse et l'Université Nationale Technologique d'Athènes,
Multi-scale modelling and experimental analysis of ALD alumina: Interplay of process dynamics, chemistry and interfacial phenomena
menée en co-tutelle entre l’INP Toulouse et l’Université Nationale Technologique d’Athènes, en collaboration entre le LAAS, le CIRIMAT, le LGC et NTUA (soutenance prévue le 30 octobre à NTUAthènes)
Mme Elisabeth BLANQUET, Rapporteur
Athanasios DIMOULAS, Rapporteur
Emmanuel SCHEID, Examiner
Mme Evangelia PAVLATOU, Examiner
Athanasios G. PAPATHANASIOU, Examiner
Mme Asiya TURGAMBAEVA, Examiner
Mme Brigitte CAUSSAT, Thesis Director
Andreas G. BOUDOUVIS, Thesis Director
Constantin VAHLAS, Invited
M. Hugues VERGNES, Invited
The constant shrinking of microelectronic devices requires the production of conformal and uniform nanometric thin films, with a high chemical purity and abrupt interfaces. In this context, Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) has emerged as a favorable process to produce such films. Drawing its advantages from the self-limiting nature of the surface reactions involved, ALD can yield thickness control down to the monolayer, producing conformal films of high purity.
Although ALD has many advantages, drawbacks arise when depositing films of some nanometers. In particular, the initial island growth and the formation of an interfacial oxide layer are two of its main limitations, especially for the case of metal oxide ALD on Si. Moreover, the deposition on large area wafers is not always uniform, and depends on the reactor and process design. These drawbacks need to be suppressed in order to establish ALD as the adequate process for the deposition of high-k gate oxides on Si, essential for the production of field effect transistors of the future.
In this thesis, the ALD of Al2O3 from TMA and H2O on Si is thoroughly investigated, in order to tackle the above drawbacks. The investigation consists of a combined multiscale computational and experimental approach. Four different numerical models were developed dealing with different space scales. A complete set of characterization techniques was used, including ellipsometry, XRR, TEM, STEM, EDX, XPS and SIMS. Using this framework, the detailed phenomena involved are illuminated, thus allowing to better understand the process and identify the factors responsible for the drawbacks of ALD.
The competition between surface mechanisms, namely desorption and surface reactions, was found to be the limiting factor for deposition at low temperatures, up to 200oC. The concentration of surface reactive sites was found to limit the deposition at higher temperatures up to 300oC. Although ALD is conceived as a process depending only on surface chemistry, the analysis of the transport phenomena inside the ALD chamber showed that the reactor and process design can affect the reactant and temperature distribution inside the ALD reactor. The multiscale approach and the coupling among the different computational models revealed that the interplay between surface mechanisms and transport phenomena affects the film uniformity. Using this computational approach, it was possible to derive optimal process conditions that ensure maximum film uniformity.
During the first deposition steps, the film deposition was found to be inhibited, leading to an island growth regime. The integrated analysis showed that 25 cycles are needed in order to deposit a continuous Al2O3 film. During this regime, interfacial oxidation of the Si substrate led to the formation of a ~2 nm interfacial oxide layer, consisting of SiOx, AlOx, and Al-silicates, which degrades the properties and thus the potential applications of the deposited structure.
An in situ N2-NH3 plasma pretreatment of the HF-cleaned Si substrate was introduced, leading to a formation of a SixNyH layer on the substrate surface. The pretreatment was found to enhance the surface reactivity, as the inhibition period was restricted and linear ALD growth was obtained even after 5 cycles. Furthermore, interfacial Si oxidation was reduced, as the SixNyH layer was found to serve as an effective barrier for O diffusion and Si oxidation.
The work presented in this thesis demonstrates the necessity of such integrated approaches to analyze the detailed phenomena involved in ALD. Such studies help in the thorough understanding of the ALD mechanisms, and consequently in elaborating solutions which restrict the drawbacks arising during the initial deposition steps. This could pave the way for the ALD process to industrially produce uniform and conformal nanometric thin films of high purity and abrupt interfaces, able to answer to the demands of the future electronic industry.
All Day (Wednesday)