US20090137187A1 - Diagnostic Methods During CMP Pad Dressing and Associated Systems - Google Patents

Diagnostic Methods During CMP Pad Dressing and Associated Systems Download PDF

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US20090137187A1
US20090137187A1 US12276189 US27618908A US2009137187A1 US 20090137187 A1 US20090137187 A1 US 20090137187A1 US 12276189 US12276189 US 12276189 US 27618908 A US27618908 A US 27618908A US 2009137187 A1 US2009137187 A1 US 2009137187A1
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cmp pad
dresser
system
cmp
pad dresser
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Chien-Min Sung
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Chien-Min Sung
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B24GRINDING; POLISHING
    • B24BMACHINES, DEVICES, OR PROCESSES FOR GRINDING OR POLISHING; DRESSING OR CONDITIONING OF ABRADING SURFACES; FEEDING OF GRINDING, POLISHING, OR LAPPING AGENTS
    • B24B49/00Measuring or gauging equipment for controlling the feed movement of the grinding tool or work; Arrangements of indicating or measuring equipment, e.g. for indicating the start of the grinding operation
    • B24B49/12Measuring or gauging equipment for controlling the feed movement of the grinding tool or work; Arrangements of indicating or measuring equipment, e.g. for indicating the start of the grinding operation involving optical means
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B24GRINDING; POLISHING
    • B24BMACHINES, DEVICES, OR PROCESSES FOR GRINDING OR POLISHING; DRESSING OR CONDITIONING OF ABRADING SURFACES; FEEDING OF GRINDING, POLISHING, OR LAPPING AGENTS
    • B24B53/00Devices or means for dressing or conditioning abrasive surfaces
    • B24B53/02Devices or means for dressing or conditioning abrasive surfaces of plane surfaces on abrasive tools
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B24GRINDING; POLISHING
    • B24DTOOLS FOR GRINDING, BUFFING, OR SHARPENING
    • B24D7/00Bonded abrasive wheels, or wheels with inserted abrasive blocks, designed for acting otherwise than only by their periphery, e.g. by the front face; Bushings or mountings therefor
    • B24D7/12Bonded abrasive wheels, or wheels with inserted abrasive blocks, designed for acting otherwise than only by their periphery, e.g. by the front face; Bushings or mountings therefor with apertures for inspecting the surface to be abraded

Abstract

A system for in-situ monitoring at least one aspect of a chemical mechanical planarization process can include a CMP pad, CMP pad dresser with at least a translucent portion, and an optical sensor. The optical sensor can be configured to optically engage the CMP pad through the translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser. Methods of monitoring chemical mechanical planarization processes can include using such CMP pad dresser to view a performance characteristic through the CMP pad dresser.

Description

    PRIORITY DATA
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/989,755, filed on Nov. 21, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to methods and systems for use in monitoring chemical mechanical planarization processes in-situ. Accordingly, the present invention involves the fields of chemical engineering, semiconductor technology, and materials science.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Chemical mechanical planarization, or CMP, has become a widely used technique for removing material from a workpiece. The computer manufacturing industry, especially, has begun to rely heavily on CMP processes for polishing wafers of various materials, including ceramics, silicon, glass, quartz, metals, and mixtures thereof for use in semiconductor fabrication. Generally, the polishing process entails applying a wafer against a flat horizontally-rotating pad, often porous or fibrous, made from a durable organic substance such as polyurethane. To the rotating pad, is added a slurry containing a chemical solution and abrasive particles. The chemical solution is capable of chemically reacting with the wafer substance, and abrasive particles help the pad physically polish the wafer surface. The slurry is continually added to the spinning CMP pad, and the dual chemical and mechanical forces exerted on the wafer cause it to be polished in a desired manner.
  • During the course of polishing, the pores or fibers of the CMP pad become clogged with debris abraded off the workpiece, the pad, and with an over abundance of abrasive particles from the slurry. Such accumulation causes glazing or hardening of the pad, and reduces its capacity to effectively remove material from the workpiece. Therefore, a CMP pad of this type is typically “dressed” or “conditioned” using a CMP pad dresser or conditioner. A variety of such conditioners, including specific methods for the use and manufacture thereof, are known in the art.
  • In general terms, the CMP pad dresser is a round flat disk having a plurality of diamond particles, or other particles, protruding out of a substrate. In use, the working surface of the disk is pressed against the polishing surface of the CMP pad while the pad, the disk, or both, are rotated. As such, the diamond particles of the dresser protrude into the pad and remove debris, as well as lift matted pad fibers, and create new grooves to hold additional abrasives. Thus the pad is rejuvenated, and able to maintain its polishing performance.
  • While pads utilizing a slurry have been effective in achieving a wide variety of polishing configurations, such pads suffer various drawbacks such as abrasive particle aggregation. Particularly, due to the centrifugal force of the horizontally spinning CMP pad, the loose abrasive particles from the slurry tend to group, or gather, in the more shallow regions of the pad. Thus, when used to polish certain materials, such as softer metals, uneven depressions known as “dishing” can occur. Additionally, because the abrasive particles are not physically attached to the pad, but rather are free moving, it is difficult to increase the rate of material removal from a workpiece by simply increasing the speed of the pad's rotation.
  • Alternatively, in fixed-abrasive CMP pads, the presence of abrasive particles, and the wear condition of the abrasive particles can undesirably alter the polish provided by the pad. Fixed-abrasive particles can become loose and become unattached to the pad. When this happens, the abrasive particles can remain present on the pad, thus projecting a greater distance from the pad than imbedded particles, and can scratch or otherwise damage an object to be polished. Likewise, when an imbedded particle becomes dislodged from the CMP pad, this creates a void at the particle's location, thus reducing polishing for the void location, and increases workload of neighboring imbedded particles.
  • To minimize damage caused by such things as dislodged abrasives, improper dressing, or un-tuned polishing conditions, the CMP pad, CMP pad conditioner and/or polished object can be examined following processing. From that, processing conditions can be adjusted, to improve the polishing and dressing. Unfortunately, this means that many wafers will exhibit scratches or other damage and/or will be underpolished before polishing and dressing parameters can be appropriately adjusted. Additionally, optimizing or tuning a system for best polishing can take a great deal of time as small adjustments can be made between polishings and/or dressings.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides systems and methods for in-situ monitoring of CMP processes. The system includes a CMP pad, a CMP pad dresser having at least a translucent portion, and an optical sensor. The optical sensor can be configured to optically engage the pad through the translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser. By using such system, the CMP can be monitored while in-use. Aspects of the processing can be monitored without requiring that the polishing and/or dressing be stopped. Furthermore, the system does not require removal, and subsequent integrity degradation, of portions of material in one or both of the CMP pad or CMP pad conditioner to allow for monitoring. Such system, in fact, requires minimal adjustment to many presently-operating CMP systems.
  • The system can monitor CMP conditions such as, e.g., slurry patterns and slough patterns, as well as conditions of the CMP pad and CMP pad dresser. CMP pad conditions can include, e.g., presence of imbedded particles, wear condition of imbedded particles, and exhaustion of CMP pad. Likewise, CMP pad dresser conditions can include, e.g., presence of imbedded particles, and wear conditions.
  • Methods of in-situ monitoring at least one aspect of a chemical mechanical planarization process are also presented. In one aspect, such a method includes dressing a CMP pad with a CMP pad dresser. The CMP pad dresser can have at least a translucent portion. The method can further include viewing a performance characteristic of the chemical mechanical planarization through the CMP pad dresser. In one aspect, the method can also include adjusting an operating parameter during chemical mechanical planarization in response to the viewed performance characteristic.
  • Likewise, a method for improving CMP pad conditioning can include dressing a CMP pad with a CMP pad dresser having at least a translucent portion. The method can further include viewing a performance characteristic of the chemical mechanical planarization through the translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser, and adjusting an operating parameter in response to the viewed performance characteristic. Such adjustment can be done so as to optimize the performance characteristic.
  • There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, various features of the invention so that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and so that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. Other features of the present invention will become clearer from the following detailed description of the invention, taken with the accompanying claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Before the present invention is disclosed and described, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the particular structures, process steps, or materials disclosed herein, but is extended to equivalents thereof as would be recognized by those ordinarily skilled in the relevant arts. It should also be understood that terminology employed herein is used for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting.
  • It must be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an” and, “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to “a CMP pad dresser” includes one or more of such dressers, reference to “an operating parameter” includes reference to one or more of such operating parameters, and reference to “the particle” includes reference to one or more of such particles.
  • DEFINITIONS
  • In describing and claiming the present invention, the following terminology will be used in accordance with the definitions set forth below.
  • As used herein, the term “substantially” refers to the complete or nearly complete extent or degree of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. For example, an object that is “substantially” translucent would mean that the object is either completely translucent or nearly completely translucent. Substantially translucent would also include transparent. The exact allowable degree of deviation from absolute completeness may in some cases depend on the specific context. However, generally speaking the nearness of completion will be so as to have the same overall result as if absolute and total completion were obtained. The use of “substantially” is equally applicable when used in a negative connotation to refer to the complete or near complete lack of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. In other words, a composition that is “substantially free of” an ingredient or element may still actually contain such item as long as there is no measurable effect thereof.
  • The terms “dressing” and “conditioning” are interchangeable and refer to the process of rejuvenating a CMP pad by removing debris from the pad, as well as optionally lifting matted fibers and creating new grooves. Likewise, the terms “dresser” and “conditioner” are used interchangeably and indicate the apparatus used for dressing or conditioning.
  • As used herein, a plurality of components may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary.
  • Concentrations, amounts, particle sizes, volumes, and other numerical data may be expressed or presented herein in a range format. It is to be understood that such a range format is used merely for convenience and brevity and thus should be interpreted flexibly to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the limits of the range, but also to include all the individual numerical values or sub-ranges encompassed within that range as if each numerical value and sub-range is explicitly recited.
  • As an illustration, a numerical range of “about 1 to about 5” should be interpreted to include not only the explicitly recited values of about 1 to about 5, but also include individual values and sub-ranges within the indicated range. Thus, included in this numerical range are individual values such as 2, 3, and 4 and sub-ranges such as from 1-3, from 2-4, and from 3-5, etc. This same principle applies to ranges reciting only one numerical value. Furthermore, such an interpretation should apply regardless of the breadth of the range or the characteristics being described.
  • THE INVENTION
  • It has been found that chemical mechanical planarization can be monitored in-situ. Such monitoring during processing can allow for better understanding of processing. Additionally, the information gathered can be used to improve chemical mechanical planarization processes during processing. The herein-presented systems and methods are further useful in that they require minimal adjustment to presently-used equipment and systems. The systems and methods herein can in some aspects, rely on optically sensing the processing through a translucent portion of a CMP pad dresser. In one aspect, the translucent portion can be a solid part of the CMP pad dresser. As such, the monitoring can take place without drastically reconfiguring the physical shape or appearance of the dresser. In this manner, without removing material and optionally abrasive particles from the dresser, the dresser is structurally sound, and further, can be used in most present-day equipment.
  • In accordance with embodiments presented herein, various details are provided which are applicable to each of the system for in-situ monitoring, method of in-situ monitoring, and method for improving CMP pad conditioning. Thus, discussion of one specific embodiment is related to and provides support for this discussion in the context of the other related embodiments.
  • There are a select number of end point detection systems and methods for CMP pad polishing of wafers. In such end point detection systems, a window made of a different material than that polishing pad is fitted in the pad. A laser can then beam towards the wafer during polishing. The reflected light signals the roughness and/or composition of the wafer layer. This technique is used in conjunction with polishing copper, where the exposure of a non-copper material, i.e. TaN barrier layer, is the cue for ending the polishing.
  • By the present disclosure, less invasive methods and equipment are proposed, which allow monitoring and even real-time response to a variety of processing conditions and factors, including monitoring of non-end-point-based conditions and factors. Further, methods and equipment are presented which can be used not only for polishing, but for dressing a CMP pad with a CMP pad dresser. For CMP pad conditioning, no end point detection is available. Rather, the CMP pad is replaced when the polishing rate becomes too low and/or when the scratch rate exceeds a threshold. Such conditions are a result of natural use and wear of the CMP pad dresser: dulling of the tips of the dresser. When the tallest tips of the CMP pad dresser are worn, the worn tips support the load. Eventually, the lower tips cannot be pressed to penetrate the pad surface due to the worn tips. The pad surface then becomes slippery due to the accumulation of cutting debris. It then follows that the removal rate of the wafer has decays significantly and the scratch rate increases.
  • By allowing in-situ detection of pad conditioning, various parameters can be monitored such as penetration of the cutting tips, groove size, number of grooves, and groove pattern. If the groove becomes wider and the number of them declines, the effectiveness of dressing is reduced. Such parameters can be quantified and used to anticipate the decline of, among other things, removal rate. Such data can be utilized to indicate times when dressing and/or polishing conditions can be modified to produce an better equipment wear, and consistent dressing and/or polishing conditions. As a non-limiting example, higher force can be used when dresser particles begin to wear. By this, grooving efficiency can be maintained, thus lengthening dresser and/or CMP pad life. By increasing the life of the CMP pad conditioner, not only are operating costs reduced, but throughput and efficiency can be increased, as the length of time between machine down time is extended.
  • In one embodiment, a system for monitoring chemical mechanical planarization processes in-situ can include a CMP pad and a CMP pad dresser. At least a portion of the CMP pad dresser can be translucent. An optical sensor can be configured to optically engage the CMP pad through the translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser, and thus monitor chemical mechanical planarization in-situ. With at least a portion of the CMP pad dresser translucent, the optical sensor can view through the material and to the working surfaces of the CMP pad and CMP pad dresser. Such monitoring can occur without interfering with the processing. As the optical sensor optically engages the CMP pad through the CMP pad dresser, the sensor will not interfere with or detract from the processing, or the integrity of the work pieces.
  • Varying degrees and areas of the CMP pad dresser may be translucent. The areas of the CMP pad dresser that are translucent can be predetermined areas to be used for monitoring. Further, the majority, or even substantially all, of the CMP pad dresser can be substantially translucent. Where the translucent area is greater than what is required for the optical sensor, additional sensors can be included in the design, or a single optical sensor can be configured to monitor more than one area. In the latter case, the optical sensor can be re-positioned during processing, between processing steps (e.g. between dressing functions), or randomly, as desired for monitoring, and at any time the processing permits.
  • In one aspect, the CMP pad dresser can be solid. In such case, the optical sensor can typically be configured to view the CMP pad through the backside of the CMP pad dresser. As such, the CMP pad dresser can provide an area through which an optical sensor can view, but still retain the characteristics of a solid and complete dresser. As a non-limiting example, the dresser can be free of windows or other voids. Further, the dresser can be free of foreign materials in the solid dresser, i.e. windows. In an alternate arrangement, the optical sensor can be configured to optically engage the CMP pad through the side of the CMP pad dresser.
  • Though any part of the CMP pad dresser can be translucent or transparent to permit an optical sensor to function, in one embodiment, the translucent or transparent portion of the CMP pad dresser can be the central area of the disk-shaped dresser. Many CMP pad dressers presently used include a central portion devoid of cutting tips. As such, a hole can be punctured or fabricated in this region. In one aspect, the hole can be plugged or fitted with a piece of glass, acrylic, or another translucent or transparent material. In another aspect, the hole can comprise or consist essentially of an organic material. In another embodiment, the entire backing of the CMP pad dresser can be translucent or transparent, as with, e.g., a resin.
  • Although any type of material that can be used to make a CMP pad dresser, and which is translucent can be used to make the translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser in one aspect, the CMP pad dresser can include solidified organic material. Non-limiting examples of solidified organic material that can be used includes amino resins, acrylate resins, alkyd resins, polyester resins, polyamide resins, polyimide resins, polyurethane resins, phenolic resins, phenolic/latex resins, epoxy resins, isocyanate resins, isocyanurate resins, polysiloxane resins, reactive vinyl resins, polyethylene resins, polypropylene resins, polystyrene resins, phenoxy resins, perylene resins, polysulfone resins, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene resins, acrylic resins, polycarbonate resins, and polyimide resins. In a specific embodiment, the CMP pad dresser can comprise or consist essentially of an epoxy resin. In another specific embodiment, the CMP pad dresser can comprise or consist essentially of a polyurethane resin. In still another embodiment, the CMP pad dresser can comprise or consist essentially of a polyimide resin.
  • Numerous additives may be included in the organic material to facilitate its use. For example, additional crosslinking agents and fillers may be used to improve the cured characteristics of the organic material layer. Additionally, solvents may be utilized to alter the characteristics of the organic material in the uncured state. Also, a reinforcing material may be disposed within at least a portion of the solidified organic material layer. Such reinforcing material may function to increase the strength of the organic material layer, and thus further improve the retention of the superabrasive particles. In one aspect, the reinforcing material may include ceramics, metals, or combinations thereof. Examples of ceramics include alumina, aluminum carbide, silica, silicon carbide, zirconia, zirconium carbide, and mixtures thereof.
  • Additionally, in one aspect a coupling agent or an organometallic compound may be coated onto the surface of each superabrasive particle to facilitate the retention of the superabrasive particles in the organic material matrix via chemical bonding. Manufacturing CMP pad dressers using various resins is discussed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/223,786, which is herein incorporated by reference. Resins that produce a translucent solid can be used individually or in combination to produce a translucent portion, or translucent whole, of a CMP pad dresser that can be used in the present systems and methods.
  • Optically engaging a CMP pad through a translucent portion of a CMP pad dresser allows for observation and monitoring of a variety of features dealing with the processing itself, both the dressing process and the CMP, as well as conditions of one or both of the CMP pad and CMP pad dresser. Movement of the fluid and debris encountered in chemical mechanical planarization processes can be monitored, such as slurry patterns and slough patterns. Monitoring the slurry, or fluid used to facilitate the chemical portion of CMP, can provide insight into intricate polishing. Slurry movement can account for at least a portion of the polishing. Furthermore, slurry patterns may provide insight into chemical and/or physical interactions with the CMP pad, CMP pad dresser, and object to be polished. Furthermore, understanding slurry patterns may provide insight into optimal rotational or other speeds of equipment, as well as optimal methods of introducing and removing fluid from a CMP pad.
  • Likewise, slough patterns can offer insight into polishing and dressing. Slough movement can explain and even predict the physical state of a CMP pad. Slough typically accounts for unfavorable conditions on the CMP pad, such as dishing. Some CMP pads can be configured to allow for an even flow of slough across the CMP pad until it is removed, others may be configured for designed flow, and designated slough routes. Regardless of the intended slough movement, it can be verified while monitored through a translucent portion of a CMP pad dresser. The methods and systems presented herein can be used to monitor more than one aspect of a chemical mechanical planarization process at the same time. One example is slurry and slough flow patterns. Such may often be the case as slurry picks up slough and the two are not overly distinguishable. With both the slurry and slough flow patterns, the slurry and/or slough can be visibly altered to improve compatibility with the optical sensor(s) used. Non-limiting examples include particulate having a particular crystalline structure, coloring agent, or IR-activated additives. Such in-situ monitoring as presented here need not be continuous, but can be performed in small time intervals during processing, as equipment permits.
  • The present system can be used to monitor one or more physical and/or performance aspects of the CMP pad. The CMP pad is responsible for polishing the object to be polished, or planarized. The CMP pad offers mechanical abrasion, and typically holds or retains the chemical slurry used in the processing. Over the life of a CMP pad, it is dulled by the effects of the direct abrasion, and the surface is further affected by the slough retained and/or scratching the surface, and possibly by the chemical erosion due to the slurry. To counteract at least some of these forces, the CMP pad is dressed or conditioned by a CMP pad dresser. Unfortunately, although conditioning has a beneficial effect on the CMP pad, over time, the conditioning can wear away and possibly damage the CMP pad. Therefore, the working surface of the CMP pad changes regularly through use. Regardless of the age of the CMP pad, however, it is important to monitor the condition of the CMP pad to ensure proper polishing or planarization. The system for in-situ monitoring allows for monitoring while in use. Such monitoring can include, for example, roughness of the CMP pad, the number of grooves, the average width of grooves during dressing, etc.
  • Various aspects of the CMP pad can be monitored. In one aspect, the CMP pad can include imbedded particles. Imbedded particles typically include abrasive particles such as diamond, cBN, SiC, Al2O3, ZrO2, and WC. Such particles can be situated to match a predetermined pattern, or can be placed randomly on the working surface of the CMP pad. The present system can be configured to sense the presence of imbedded particles in the CMP pad. Loss of one or more imbedded particle can increase the workload of other particles, can scratch an object to be polished, and otherwise leave a void where the particle had been attached. Therefore, particle retention can be useful to monitor. If monitoring in-situ, it can provide the system with warning when a particle is no longer imbedded, and can allow a system to immediately act to lessen the potential adverse effects of a loose or missing particle. Furthermore, the optical sensor can be configured to sense the degree of retention of imbedded particles in the CMP pad. Degree of retention can be used to anticipate particle loss before the particles become disjointed from the CMP pad.
  • The individual imbedded particles in certain CMP pads, working together, are responsible for the mechanical abrasion aspect of CMP. The angle and sharpness of the particles can indicate what type (aggressive to dull) of abrasion the pad can provide. When the particles are dull, the object to be polished may require additional processing time and/or greater processing pressure. In one aspect, the present system can be configured to sense the wear condition of imbedded particles. Likewise, and regardless of the presence of imbedded particles in the CMP pad, the optical sensor can be configured to sense exhaustion of a CMP pad. Such exhaustion can be based on preset parameters including but not limited to slough patterns and composition, particle presence, particle wear, contours of CMP pad, predetermined and identified pad defects, conditioning effectiveness, etc.
  • In some aspects, a system can be configured to monitor aspects of a CMP pad dresser. In this regard, there are many aspects of a CMP pad dresser that can be monitored. CMP pad dressers often include imbedded particles. The presence and condition of the particles can be monitored. Non-limiting examples of performance aspects that can be monitored include presence of particles imbedded in the CMP pad dresser, degree of retention of imbedded particles, wear condition of imbedded particles, and general wear condition of CMP pad dresser.
  • The optical sensor included in the system with the CMP pad and CMP pad conditioner can be of any type capable of optically engaging a CMP pad through a translucent portion of a CMP pad dresser. Optical sensors come in a variety of forms, including but not limited to IR sensors, pulsating light sensors, laser sensors, and fiber optic sensors. In a specific embodiment, the optical sensor can comprise or consist essentially of an infrared laser. A non-limiting example of an infrared laser that can be utilized in the present method and system includes an Nd:YAG laser with an infrared wavelength of about one micron. Certainly, other types of lasers could be used. Furthermore, the optical sensor can be a camera-type device configured to view (thus, coupled with light if necessary) the CMP pad through the translucent portion. In such case, the data can be relayed to another location, such as a monitor for viewing.
  • In one embodiment, the optical sensor can be configured to relay data to a controller. In this manner, the information garnered from the in-situ monitoring system can be used to adjust operating parameters during processing. In other words, an optical sensor can be configured to optically engage a CMP pad through a translucent portion of a CMP pad dresser, thus monitoring an aspect of the processing, and further to relay data of the CMP aspect to a controller that automatically adjusts at least one operating parameter on the CMP pad and/or CMP pad dresser.
  • In some embodiments, it may be useful to include more than one sensor. Such additional sensors can be of a type that doesn't optically engage the CMP pad through a translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser. Rather, they can be sensors configured to engage the CMP pad, CMP pad dresser or another aspect of the system in a non-visual manner, or by a route not through the translucent portion. For example, a pressure sensor could be attached to the CMP pad dresser. As another example, an optical sensor can be configured to engage the CMP pad dresser and/or CMP pad from a side angle of the system, thus not viewing through the dresser. Further, a sensor can be configured to optically engage a CMP pad dresser through a removed portion of a CMP pad. There are numerous embodiments of possible combinations of the optical sensor of the present application with additional sensors in the art. It should be understood that all possible combinations are merely introduced, and are not exhaustively discussed herein.
  • In an alternate arrangement, more than one optical sensor can be configured to optically engage the CMP pad through the CMP pad dresser. To facilitate this arrangement, a plurality of optical sensors can be configured to optically engage the CMP pad through the same translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser. Alternatively, in the case wherein the CMP pad dresser includes a plurality of translucent portions, optical sensors could be configured to use at least two different translucent portions to optically engage the CMP pad. Such arrangement can provide a greater coverage of the CMP pad area and thus perhaps more accurate data. In the cases where the CMP pad dresser is substantially translucent, the optical sensors can be arranged in any manner that allows for optical engagement through the CMP pad dresser to the CMP pad.
  • The system can be used to monitor a chemical mechanical planarization process. A method of in-situ monitoring of at least one aspect of a chemical mechanical planarization process can include dressing a CMP pad with a CMP pad dresser. The CMP pad dresser can include at least a translucent portion. The method can further include viewing a performance characteristic of the chemical mechanical planarization through the CMP pad dresser.
  • In a further embodiment, the method can further include adjusting an operating parameter during chemical mechanical planarization in response to the viewed performance characteristic. Such adjustment can be a manual adjustment, or can be an automated adjustment. Time lag between obtaining data and adjusting operating parameters in response to the data can be varied, depending on application, from real-time, to, e.g., between polishings. Dressing can have a varied effect on CMP pads that older compared to newer CMP pads. As such, one of the performance characteristics viewed can include degree of dressing. If the dressing is too aggressive, it can be adjusted during dressing. Likewise, if dressing is not aggressive enough, it can be adjusted to achieve an optimal dressing.
  • In a specific embodiment, a method for improving CMP pad conditioning can include dressing a CMP pad with a CMP pad dresser. A performance characteristic can be viewed through a translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser. An operating parameter can be adjusted in response to the viewed performance characteristic so as to optimize the performance characteristic. In some cases, optimizing a performance characteristic may require multiple tuning adjustments.
  • The systems and methods described herein allow for in-situ monitoring of CMP processing. By monitoring such system during processing, the equipment and method are better understood and optimized. Further, such insight can improve future designs of CMP pads and CMP pad conditioners. Monitoring in-situ also allows for real-time adjustments to operating parameters, and therefore the system can be fine-tuned, or optimized in a fraction of the processing time of other systems, and further, can be maintained at an optimum standard as the CMP pad and CMP pad dresser slowly wear.
  • Of course, it is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are only illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and the appended claims are intended to cover such modifications and arrangements. Thus, while the present invention has been described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A system for in-situ monitoring at least one aspect of a chemical mechanical planarization process, comprising:
    a CMP pad;
    a CMP pad dresser having at least a translucent portion; and
    an optical sensor configured to optically engage the CMP pad through the translucent portion of the CMP pad dresser.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, wherein the CMP pad dresser is substantially translucent.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1, wherein the CMP pad dresser is solid.
  4. 4. The system of claim 1, wherein the CMP pad dresser comprises solidified organic material.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1, wherein the optical sensor is configured to sense slurry patterns when the CMP pad dresser is engaged with the CMP pad and at least one of the CMP pad or the CMP pad dresser is rotating.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1, wherein the optical sensor is configured to sense slough patterns when the CMP pad dresser is engaged with the CMP pad and at least one of the CMP pad or the CMP pad dresser is rotating.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1, wherein the system is configured to monitor a performance aspect of the CMP pad.
  8. 8. The system of claim 1, wherein the system is configured to monitor a performance aspect of the CMP pad dresser.
  9. 9. The system of claim 1, wherein the optical sensor is configured to relay data to a controller.
  10. 10. The system of claim 1, wherein the optical sensor is selected from the group comprising IR sensors, pulsating light sensors, laser sensors, fiber optic sensors, and combinations thereof.
  11. 11. The system of claim 1, comprising a plurality of optical sensors configured to optically engage the CMP pad through the CMP pad dresser.
  12. 12. A method of in-situ monitoring of at least one aspect of a chemical mechanical planarization process, comprising:
    dressing a CMP pad with a CMP pad dresser, said CMP pad dresser having at least a translucent portion; and
    viewing a performance characteristic of the chemical mechanical planarization through the CMP pad dresser.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12, further comprising adjusting an operating parameter during chemical mechanical planarization in response to the viewed performance characteristic.
  14. 14. The method of claim 13, wherein the adjusting is automated.
  15. 15. The method of claim 12, wherein the performance characteristic is a physical characteristic of the CMP pad.
  16. 16. The method of claim 15, wherein the performance characteristic of the CMP pad is selected from presence of particles imbedded in the CMP pad, retention of imbedded particles in the CMP pad, wear condition of imbedded particles in the CMP pad, wear condition of the CMP pad overall, exhaustion of CMP pad, and combinations thereof.
  17. 17. The method of claim 16, wherein the performance characteristic is retention of imbedded particles in the CMP pad.
  18. 18. The method of claim 12, wherein the performance characteristic is a physical characteristic of the CMP pad dresser.
  19. 19. The method of claim 17, wherein the performance characteristic of the CMP pad dresser is selected from presence of particles imbedded in the CMP pad dresser, retention of imbedded particles in the CMP pad dresser, wear condition of imbedded particles in the CMP pad dresser, wear condition of the CMP pad dresser overall, exhaustion of CMP pad dresser, and combinations thereof.
  20. 20. The method of claim 19, wherein the performance characteristic is wear condition of imbedded particles in the CMP pad dresser.
US12276189 2007-11-21 2008-11-21 Diagnostic Methods During CMP Pad Dressing and Associated Systems Abandoned US20090137187A1 (en)

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