One set of research topics in the Graves group focuses on the fundamentals and applications of low-temperature plasmas to the microelectronics industry. Recent studies have focused on how low-temperature plasma alters polymers, such as photoresists. Another recent topic is understanding the details of plasma etching in high aspect features. We typically combine various types of plasma modeling and simulation methods with well-controlled experiments to develop insights into mechanisms governing the processes.
Coupling research between 3D feature profile simulation and molecular dynamics (Yeon Ho Im)
One of the emerging challenges with plasma etch is to achieve ideal high aspect ratio plasma etch without abnormal structures such as bowing and bottom distortions. In order to pursue the goal of continually reducing critical dimension (CD) in semiconductor devices, plasma etch is a key technology. However, problems arise due to lack iof fundamental understanding of issues such as the synergetic effects of scattering and sputtering behaviors; complex steric constraints; and non-local effects (e.g. surface diffusion) in surface chemistry. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of plasma-surface interactions can be a good strategy to gain mechanistic isights. Furthermore, the 3D feature profile evolution simulations coupled with MD results will be one of best ways to capture key clues to understand the unexpected abnormal behaviors observed in plasma etch process. Based on MD simulations, the goal of this project is to investigate and understand the above phenomena. This is required to develop next generation plasma etch processes (line & space, or ultra high aspect ratio, UHARC) in semiconductor industries. Furthermore, it will be demonstrated that the 3D feature profile simulations coupled with MD results can elucidate various key aspects in terms of real plasma processes.
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