The use of simulation software based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is helping semiconductor manufacturers optimise chemical vapour deposition (CVD) techniques, so reducing development costs and improving process yields.
The use of CVD has increased steadily over recent years, primarily due to demands from the semiconductor industry for larger wafers and reduced feature sizes, which have stretched the limits of film quality and process performance. Use of simulation allows development costs in applying CVD processes to be cut, whilst improving process yields. Customisation of PHOENICS, the most widely used and validated general-purpose CFD code, led to the development of a dedicated CVD process simulation code known as PHOENICS-CVD. After extensive validation, the PHOENICS-CVD code is now being used by semiconductor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and other industrial organisations, as well as academic and research establishments, worldwide.
The cost of fabrication in the semiconductor industry is increasing rapidly. CVD is being widely used as it can deposit films with a superior edge coverage in submicron structures. However, as the importance and complexity of CVD processing increases, so does the need for a powerful simulation system to replace the current, economically unjustifiable 'trial and error' development methods. Not only does PHOENICS-CVD allow engineers to optimise process parameters and improve yield in the deposition stage of IC manufacture, but it reduces costs and development time for equipment manufacturers in the design of new CVD reactors.
Simulating CVD process equipment involves modelling gas flow, transport phenomena and chemical reactions in the reactor vessel, and the basic equations are well established. However, accurate CVD simulation must take account of a number of special aspects, all of which have been incorporated into the PHOENICS-CVD code. Emphasis has been placed on: system flexibility (with various options provided for modelling multi-component gas diffusion), thermal diffusion, composition-dependent gas properties, multiple species, gas phase and surface chemistry. A range of modelling options allows the user to select the level of accuracy based on run-time constraints. For ease of use the package is provided with a graphical, menu-driven, object-oriented user interface with graphical post-processing.
As part of the ACCESS-CVD project, the PHOENICS-CVD software was beta-tested in an industrial environment. It has since been successfully applied to a range of commercial CVD reactors manufactured by companies such as Applied Materials, AST, TEL, LAM Research, AG and ASM. Applications outside of the semi-conductor industry include high purity metals and fibre-reinforced composites. Backed by this success, PHOENICS-CVD is expected to revolutionise the way in which CVD reactors are designed and industrial CVD processes developed.
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Research Area Technology and Components for Subsystems
Keywords chemical vapour deposition; computational fluid dynamics; semi-conductor manufacture;
|ASM International NL|
|Fraunhofer Institute IIS-B DE|
|Siemens Corporate Research and Development DE|
|Technical University of Delft NL|
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