As feature sizes of devices shrink every year, deposition and etching processes change to be
very challenge, especially for sub-7 nm technology node. The acceptable variability of feature size is
expected to be several atoms of silicon/germanium in the future. Therefore, Remote Plasma-Enhanced
Atomic Layer Deposition (RPE-ALD) and Atomic Layer Etching (ALE) change to be more and more
important in the semiconductor fabrication. Due to their self-limiting behavior, the atomic-scale fidelity
could be realized for both of them in the processes. Compared with traditional Physical Vapor Deposition
(PVD) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) methods, atomic-scale thickness controllability
and good conformality can be achieved by RPE-ALD. Unlike conventional plasma etching, atomicscale
precision and excellent depth uniformity can be achieved by ALE. The fundamentals and applications
of RPE-ALD and ALE have been discussed in this paper. Using the combination of them,
atomic-level deposition/etch-back method is also mentioned for achieving high quality ultra-thin films
on three dimensional (3D) features.
Keywords: Plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition, atomic layer etching, atomic-level deposition/etch-back method, selflimiting
behavior, low deposition temperature, ultra-large scale integration system.
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