Funded through a generous gift from the Micron Foundation, this project is investigating facets of plasma etching. Specifically, the goal of this project is to investigate charging effects that develop during the etch process along feature sidewalls. During the etch, and especially in features with high depth-to-width ratios, charging buildup on sidewalls can distort the path of the etch and lead to unusable chips. By solving the charging problems, industry will be able to fit more usable features on each chip and attain denser storage space.
CARDE has two areas in which work is currently progressing. The first area involves use of an etch chamber donated by Micron in order to run experiments for plasma etch research. The chamber uses a radio-frequency excited antenna to produce an inductively coupled plasma and is capable of power delivery of over 5000 Watts.
The second area involves fabrication of a microcharging diagnostic in order to study the build up of charge during plasma exposure. Work on these devices is being conducted at the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory on campus, inside the class 100 and 1000 clean rooms. The manufacturing of these devices uses many of the same techniques used in semiconductor chip production.
Information on the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory can be found at http://www.micro.uiuc.edu