A system for predicting distortion of a profile during plasma etching was developed. The system consists of a combination of measurement and simulation. An 'on-wafer sheath-shape sensor' for measuring the plasma-sheath parameters (sheath potential and thickness) on the stage of the plasma etcher was developed. The sensor has numerous small electrodes for measuring sheath potential and saturation ion-current density, from which sheath thickness can be calculated. The results of the measurement show reasonable dependence on source power, bias power and pressure. Based on self-consistent calculation of potential distribution and ion- and electron-density distributions, simulation of the sheath potential distribution around an arbitrary 3D structure and the trajectory of incident ions from the plasma to the structure was developed. To confirm the validity of the distortion prediction by comparing it with experimentally measured distortion, silicon trench etching under chlorine inductively coupled plasma (ICP) was performed using a sample with a vertical step. It was found that the etched trench was distorted when the distance from the step was several millimetres or less. The distortion angle was about 20° at maximum. Measurement was performed using the on-wafer sheath-shape sensor in the same plasma condition as the etching. The ion incident angle, calculated as a function of distance from the step, successfully reproduced the experimentally measured angle, indicating that the combination of measurement by the on-wafer sheath-shape sensor and simulation can predict distortion of an etched structure. This prediction system will be useful for designing devices with large-scale 3D structures (such as those in MEMS) and determining the optimum etching conditions to obtain the desired profiles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films