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071211: HK+MG real details shown at IEDM
Ed’s Threads 071211
Musings by Ed Korczynski on December 11, 2007
It’s time for IEDM, and ~1600 leaders of the CMOS fab world have gathered in Washington D.C. to announce the latest, greatest in new devices. The first big news concerns high-k/metal-gate (HK+MG) transistors for 45nm node and beyond processing. With many parallel sessions covering the most important technology trends in IC manufacturing, it is impossible to mention all of the great results presented by teams from around the world (apologies to: ST/NXP/Freescale, Fujitusu, MIRAI, NEC, SELETE, Sony, Toshiba, and TSMC).
Presenting on behalf of 53 co-authors, Intel VP Kaizad Mistry disclosed some real details of the company’s latest 45nm process technology featuring HK+MG. Finally answering the gate-first or gate last question with “both,” Intel has decided that the tough integration challenges for high performance logic can be best met with HK first but MG last processing. The transistors feature 1.0nm equivalent oxide thickness (EOT) dielectric, based on an atomic layer deposition (ALD) of a hafnium-based compound -- no additional details yet on other elements likely to be used in this ALD step, whether the phase of the final material is amorphous or crystalline, or what is the specific interface from the HK to the highly-strained channel. (In a side conversation after Mistry's talk, Intel Fellow Tahir Ghani confirmed the need for this interface, but would provide no details, only noting that it is critical for mobility.) pMOS performance is improved by increasing the Ge content of the embedded SiGe to 30% (from 23% @ 65nm, and 17% @ 90nm) and by reducing SiGe proximity to the channel. Lithography utilizes 193nm dry patterning, though some masks require two exposures in two resist layers along with a sacrificial hardmask. Transistors feature 35nm physical gate length, ultra-shallow junctions, and nickel silicide. Drive currents are benchmarked at 1.0V, a low 100nA/μm IOFF and at 160nm contacted gate pitch. pMOS drive current of 1.07 mA/μm (51% improvement over 65nm), while nMOS drive current is 1.36mA/μm (12% better than 65nm). SRAM arrays with cell sizes of 0.346μm2 and 0.383μm2 (performance dependent) and multiple microprocessors are already in volume production, with claimed excellent yields.
Figure. TEM micrograph of 45nm Intel high-k + metal gate pMOS transistor. (Source: IEDM2007 10.2)
Intel’s gate-first/last HK+MG process flow for 45nm transistors is as follows:
- STI, well, and VT implants,
- ALD (18-20Å) of HK gate dielectric,
- Polysilicon deposition and gate patterning,
- Source/drain extensions, spacer, Si recess and SiGe deposition,
- Source/drain anneal, Ni salicidation, ILD0 deposition,
- Poly opening CMP, poly removal,
- pMOS work-function metal deposition,
- Metal gate patterning, nMOS work-function metal deposition, and
- Metal gate Al fill and Al CMP, etch-stop layer deposition.
IMEC and its partners (TSMC, Matsushita, Infineon, Samsung, and NXP) showed a low VT CMOS gate-first HK+MG using TaC-based metals and laser-only annealing. Symmetric low VT values of ±0.25V and unstrained IDSAT of 1035/500μmA/μm (for nMOS/pMOS respectively) at IOFF=100nA/μm and VDD=1.1V were demonstrated on a single wafer. To do so required Hf-based high-k dielectric capping layers of lanthanum oxide (La2O3) for nMOS and aluminum oxide (Al2O3) for pMOS to lower EOT from ~17 to ~15 while maintaining the same target VT. HK-caps in combination with a laser-only activation anneal maintain band-edge equivalent work-function (EWF) and minimal EOT re-growth. La2O3 thickness control allows for VT turning from 0.2 to 0.6 for nMOS. HfSiO shows lower VT and higher mobilities compared to HfSiON. The laser-only anneal further results in improved LG scaling of 15nm and a 2Å TINV reduction over the spike reference. Lam etchers were used for gate patterning. IMEC has also been working on HK+MG for finFETs.
Prof. A. Toriumi et al. (U. of Tokyo, MIRAI-AIST, MIRAI-ASET) presented on “Materials Science-based device performance engineering for metal gate high-k CMOS.” EOT is based on k, which is based on the internal field and the polarizability of the material itself. HfO2 has monoclinic phase, but adding lanthanum, silicon, yttrium, and/or titanium can change the phase to cubic or tetragonal, while the k increases to ~30. Adding La2O3 increases the crystallization temperature up to 800-1000°C (over the range of 20%-40% incorporation), and the amorphous phase has the best overall properties. Regardless of composition, leakage current depends only on the physical thickness, which shows that the leakage mechanism is pure direct tunneling. Thus, using higher-k films with equal EOT (down to ~0.5nm) significantly reduces the leakage. Flat-band voltage shift has been clearly shown to be determined only by the dipoles formed at the bottom interface between SiO2 and HK, and not by the HK to MG interface. Scattering effects should be correlated to both the material itself and oxygen vacancies in the material.
Important information is being learned about nMOS/pMOS boundaries, according to H. Rusty Harris from SEMATECH, who gave an amazing presentation on a “Flexible, simplified CMOS using HK+MG on Si(110). “What we have shown is that if we add capping layers on top of the dielectric we do not see mobility degradation,” he said. Carrier mobilities depend upon crystallographic orientation, and changing from standard (100) to (110) orientation allows for mobility increase of 3X for holes, while electron mobility drop by ~1/2. Mixed orientation -- Si(100) for nMOS, and Si(11) for pMOS -- has been examined but process complexity, cost, and variability seem unattractive. Data for Si(110) planar CMOS is relatively similar to multiple orientation approach (with much lower manufacturing cost), though an pre-amorphosizing implant is used to minimize diffusion which is faster in (110) compared to (100) silicon. Even better results should be seen with finFETs, which inherently require orientation engineering. Using large 0.25μm planar transistor lengths (not short enough to fully realize the nMOS improvements), they showed that ring oscillators were nearly equivalent regardless of (110) or (100). Sub-threshold leakage is an important factor in LSTP optimization, and gate-induced drain lowering (GIDL) is the second biggest factor in off-state power. Without even optimizing the process flow for (110), using (110) lowered GIDL by an order of magnitude compared to (100).
CEA-LETI-MINATEC/Soitec use TiN metal over HfO2 HK gate dielectric to explore the limits of HK+MG with SOI substrates. From a historical perspective, Takagi et al. (IEDM '97) showed that long-channel transport conditions effectively degrade electron mobility as dielectric thickness decreases. Gate lengths from 18nm to 10μm were fabricated, all with widths of 10μm, EOT 1.7nm, and 145nm BOX thickness. They consider ballistic carriers may primarily determine the conduction in sSOI short-channel devices, and invoke a “ballisticity rate” to partly explain the influence of surface roughness scattering. Si thickness down to 2.5nm for SOI has been used for both HP (IOn=780&MU;MA/μm) and LP (IOFF=10pA/μm) devices.
Meanwhile, IBM and its partners missed out on getting a HK+MG paper into IEDM this year, and instead issued a press release about 32nm development. Having publicly committed to gate-first processing, Freescale researchers in the alliance have published a paper in the Journal of Applied Physics on the crystalline phases formed using zirconium along with hafnium-oxide. Hafnium zirconate (HfZrO4) alloy gate dielectric and hafnium dioxide (HfO2) films were formed by atomic layer deposition using metal halides and heavy water as precursors.
Labels: ALD, future, high-k, HK+MG, IBM, Intel, metal gate, transistor
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071211: HK+MG real details shown at IEDM
070615: IBM HK+MG gate-first processing
Ed’s Threads 070615Musings by Ed Korczynski on June 15, 2007
IBM HK+MG gate-first processing
At the VLSI Symposium
on June 14th, and after months of a mainstream press hype-war with Intel
, IBM finally unveiled some of the details of its new high-k/metal-gate (HK+MG) transistor technology. Mukesh Khare, IBM project manager for high-k/metal-gate development, presented integration details of the new transistors while keeping specifics of materials and processing confidential. The key information is that their HK+MG “gate first” approach keeps the same processing sequence used by traditional SiON gates, allowing for both technologies to be run on the same line and minimizing integration costs.
“We did a lot of work to look at gate-first and gate-last, and both approaches have challenges,” explained Khare, in an exclusive interview with SST and WaferNEWS. “We picked the approach that is simple, scalable, and also migrate-able.”
Gate-first is simple in terms of changes to existing processes, and looks scalable to smaller device geometries. “Migrate-able” means making it easy to port designs from SiON transistors. Indeed, gate-first processing seems to be the best overall approach -- if you can find a material that can withstand the high temperatures used in device annealing. Keeping most of the existing process flow intact, 45nm will still use tungsten plugs for contacts.
Transistor formation typically requires ~1000°C annealing to allow atoms to settle into proper places after ion-implantation, which inherently damages silicon crystals. Any gate materials in place during annealing must withstand such temperatures without losing their properties. In particular, the high-k dielectric material must maintain a certain composition and material phase to ensure that the transistors do not leak current.
All IBM will officially say to date is that its gate-first high-k material is hafnium-based, which is the currently known default standard, but they will not yet specify anything else. The material is likely to be a blend of hafnium, silicon, oxygen, and nitrogen, which can be seen as just adding the hafnium to the SiON currently used. Hafnium atoms have a relatively higher oxygen coordination number and are simply larger (atomic number 72, compared to silicon at number 14, and oxygen and nitrogen at 8 and 7, respectively), so adding them to the SiON currently used increases the dielectric constant of the layer based on density functional theory
. The thickness of the inversion layer under the gate (Tinv) with conventional oxynitride is typically, at best, 18-19 Å -- IBM’s HK+MG transistors reportedly demonstrate Tinv ~12Å, something achieved, by working for over 10 years on fundamental materials engineering.
Though not needing any fundamentally new metrology techniques, every film will require control. For example, compositional changes with nitrogen depth have already been used with nitrided-oxide gates (SiO:N), so one possibility is a nitrided-hafnium silicate (HfSiO:N). Nearly all the recent HK dielectrics that have been shown for CMOS transistors have been stacks of layers with atomic-level engineering of the interfaces. The specific composition and gradients within the layers are officially secret, but it is highly likely that there is at least one atomic layer of SiO at the bottom.
HK+MG transistors at nanometer-scale nodes are constrained by the same trade-offs between speed and leakage (for HP or LSTP circuits, respectively) as with SiON+poly transistors. Engineering the dielectric stack to be either fastest/leaky or fast/tight for a target HP or LSTP, there’s a single HK gradient-stack and one metal used for both NFET and PFET gates. Poly-silicon tops the metal gates. “After more than three years on the 300mm pilot line, there’s been a lot of learning and we’re on track,” Khare noted.
For planar devices, there are more options in terms of ALD, CVD, or PVD, explained Khare. He claims that the cost to use HK+MG is similar to that needed for any new technique like using a dual-stress liner, and so it adds minimal additional cost to the final wafer, but not all designs will need the performance improvement so some chips at 45nm and 32nm will still use SiON+poly. “It depends on the product needs. It is a very powerful technology. It’s very simple,” stated Khare. “The materials challenge was very high k, and that’s one thing we focused on.”
Labels: CMOS, high-k, HK+MG, IBM, metal gate, transistor, VLSI
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070615: IBM HK+MG gate-first processing
Ed's Threads is the weekly web-log of SST Sr. Technical Editor Ed Korczynski's musings on the topics of semiconductor manufacturing technology and business. Ed received a degree in materials science and engineering from MIT in 1984, and after process development and integration work in fabs, he held applications, marketing, and business development roles at OEMs. Ed won editorial awards from ASBPE, including interviews with Gordon Moore and Jim Morgan, and is not lacking for opinions.