Patents Assigned to Novellus Systems, Inc.
  • Patent number: 10745817
    Abstract: In one aspect, an apparatus includes a plating cell, a degassing device configured to remove oxygen from the plating solution prior to the plating solution flowing into the plating cell; an oxidation station configured to increase an oxidizing strength of the plating solution after the plating solution flows out of the plating cell; and a controller. The controller includes program instructions for causing a process that includes operations of: reducing an oxygen concentration of the plating solution where the plating solution contains a plating accelerator; then, contacting a wafer substrate with the plating solution having reduced oxygen concentration and electroplating a metal such that the electroplating causes a net conversion of the accelerator to a less-oxidized accelerator species within the plating cell; then increasing the oxidizing strength of the plating solution causing a net re-conversion of the less-oxidized accelerator species back to the accelerator outside the plating cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2020
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Kousik Ganesan, Tighe A. Spurlin, Jonathan David Reid, Shantinath Ghongadi, Andrew John McKerrow, James E. Duncan
  • Patent number: 10741458
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus to form films on sensitive substrates while preventing damage to the sensitive substrate are provided herein. In certain embodiments, methods involve forming a bilayer film on a sensitive substrate that both protects the underlying substrate from damage and possesses desired electrical properties. Also provided are methods and apparatus for evaluating and optimizing the films, including methods to evaluate the amount of substrate damage resulting from a particular deposition process and methods to determine the minimum thickness of a protective layer. The methods and apparatus described herein may be used to deposit films on a variety of sensitive materials such as silicon, cobalt, germanium-antimony-tellerium, silicon-germanium, silicon nitride, silicon carbide, tungsten, titanium, tantalum, chromium, nickel, palladium, ruthenium, or silicon oxide.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2020
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Hu Kang, Shankar Swaminathan, Adrien LaVoie, Jon Henri
  • Patent number: 10662545
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus for electroplating material onto a substrate are provided. In many cases the material is metal and the substrate is a semiconductor wafer, though the embodiments are no so limited. Typically, the embodiments herein utilize a porous ionically resistive plate positioned near the substrate, the plate having a plurality of interconnecting 3D channels and creating a cross flow manifold defined on the bottom by the plate, on the top by the substrate, and on the sides by a cross flow confinement ring. During plating, fluid enters the cross flow manifold both upward through channels in the plate, and laterally through a cross flow side inlet positioned on one side of the cross flow confinement ring. The flow paths combine in the cross flow manifold and exit at the cross flow exit, which is positioned opposite the cross flow inlet. These combined flow paths result in improved plating uniformity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2020
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven T. Mayer, Bryan L. Buckalew, Haiying Fu, Thomas Ponnuswamy, Hilton Diaz Camilo, Robert Rash, David W. Porter
  • Patent number: 10584415
    Abstract: A temperature controlled showerhead for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) chambers enhances heat dissipation to enable accurate temperature control with an electric heater. Heat dissipates by conduction through a showerhead stem and fluid passageway and radiation from a back plate. A temperature control system includes one or more temperature controlled showerheads in a CVD chamber with fluid passageways serially connected to a heat exchanger.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2020
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Henner Meinhold, Dan M. Doble, Stephen Lau, Vince Wilson, Easwar Srinivasan
  • Patent number: 10563298
    Abstract: A rotatable wafer chuck includes chuck arms and wafer holders that are aerodynamically shaped to reduce turbulence during rotation. A wafer holder may include a friction support and an independently rotatable vertical alignment member and clamping member that is shaped to reduce drag. The shape reduces turbulence during edge bevel etching to improve the uniformity of the edge exclusion and during high-speed rotation to improve particle performance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Craig P. Stephens, Matt Kanetomi, Joseph Richardson, Chris Veazey, Aaron LaBrie
  • Patent number: 10538855
    Abstract: Provided are cleaning methods and systems to remove unintended metallic deposits from electroplating apparatuses using reverse current deplating techniques. Such cleaning involves positioning a cleaning (deplating) disk in an electroplating cup similar to a regular processed substrate. The front surface of the cleaning disk includes a corrosion resistant conductive material to form electrical connections to deposits on the cup's surfaces. The disk is sealed in the cup and submerged into a plating solution. A reverse current is then applied to the front conductive surface of the disk to initiate deplating of the deposits. Sealing compression in the cup may change during cleaning to cause different deformation of the lip seal and to form new electrical connections to the deposits. The proposed cleaning may be applied to remove deposits formed during electroplating of alloys, in particular, tin-silver alloys widely used for semiconductor and wafer level packaging.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 21, 2020
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Lee Peng Chua, Steven T. Mayer, Thomas A. Ponnuswamy, Santosh Kumar
  • Patent number: 10472730
    Abstract: An electroplating apparatus for filling recessed features on a semiconductor substrate includes a vessel configured to maintain a concentrated electroplating solution at a temperature of at least about 40° C., wherein the solution would have formed a precipitate at 20° C. This vessel is in fluidic communication with an electroplating cell configured for bringing the concentrated electrolyte in contact with the semiconductor substrate at a temperature of at least about 40° C., or the vessel is the electroplating cell. In order to prevent precipitation of metal salts from the electrolyte, the apparatus further includes a controller having program instructions for adding a diluent to the concentrated electroplating solution in the vessel to avoid precipitation of a salt from the concentrated electroplating solution in response to a signal indicating that the electrolyte is at risk of precipitation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven T. Mayer, Jonathan David Reid, Seshasayee Varadarajan
  • Patent number: 10472714
    Abstract: Provided are methods and systems for providing silicon carbide class of films. The composition of the silicon carbide film can be controlled by the choice of the combination of precursors and the ratio of flow rates between the precursors. The silicon carbide films can be deposited on a substrate by flowing two different organo-silicon precursors to mix together in a reaction chamber. The organo-silicon precursors react with one or more radicals in a substantially low energy state to form the silicon carbide film. The one or more radicals can be formed in a remote plasma source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Bhadri N. Varadarajan
  • Patent number: 10435807
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are lipseal assemblies for use in electroplating clamshells which may include an elastomeric lipseal for excluding plating solution from a peripheral region of a semiconductor substrate and one or more electrical contact elements. The contact elements may be structurally integrated with the elastomeric lipseal. The lipseal assemblies may include one or more flexible contact elements at least a portion of which may be conformally positioned on an upper surface of the elastomeric lipseal, and may be configured to flex and form a conformal contact surface that interfaces with the substrate. Some elastomeric lipseals disclosed herein may support, align, and seal a substrate in a clamshell, and may include a flexible elastomeric upper portion located above a flexible elastomeric support edge, the upper portion having a top surface and an inner side surface, the later configured to move inward and align the substrate upon compression of the top surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Jingbin Feng, Robert M. Stowell, Frederick D. Wilmot
  • Patent number: 10400333
    Abstract: Various implementations of hybrid ceramic faceplates for substrate processing showerheads are provided. The hybrid ceramic showerhead faceplates may include an electrode embedded within the ceramic material of the faceplate, as well as a pattern of through-holes. The electrode may be fully encapsulated within the ceramic material with respect to the through-holes. In some implementations, a heater element may also be embedded within the hybrid ceramic showerhead faceplate. A DC voltage source may be electrically connected with the hybrid ceramic showerhead faceplate during use. The hybrid ceramic faceplates may be easily removable from the substrate processing showerheads for easy cleaning and faceplate replacement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 3, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Mohamed Sabri, Ramkishan Rao Lingampalli, Karl F. Leeser
  • Patent number: 10378109
    Abstract: A substrate processing system includes a processing chamber including a showerhead, a plasma power source and a pedestal spaced from the showerhead to support a substrate. A filter is connected between the showerhead and the pedestal. A variable bleed current circuit is connected between the filter and the pedestal to vary a bleed current. A controller is configured to adjust a value of the bleed current and configured to perform curve fitting based on the bleed current and DC self-bias voltage to estimate at least one of electrode area ratio, Bohm current, and radio frequency (RF) voltage at a powered electrode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Edward Augustyniak, Douglas Keil
  • Patent number: 10381266
    Abstract: Described herein are methods of filling features with tungsten, and related systems and apparatus, involving inhibition of tungsten nucleation. In some embodiments, the methods involve selective inhibition along a feature profile. Methods of selectively inhibiting tungsten nucleation can include exposing the feature to ammonia vapor in a non-plasma process. Process parameters including exposure time, substrate temperature, and chamber pressure can be used to tune the inhibition profile. Also provided are methods of filling multiple adjacent lines with reduced or no line bending. The methods involve selectively inhibiting the tungsten nucleation to reduce sidewall growth during feature fill.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Tsung-Han Yang, Anand Chandrashekar, Jasmine Lin
  • Patent number: 10351968
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for electroplating are described. Apparatus described herein include anode supports including positioning mechanisms that maintain a consistent distance between the surface of the wafer and the surface of a consumable anode during plating. Greater uniformity control is achieved. The consumable anode in one implementation has a plurality of through channels and at least one depression on its surface (e.g., a depression surrounding a channel) that is configured for registering with a protrusion on a component of an anode assembly, such as with a support plate. Fasteners may pass through the channels in the anode and attach it to a charge plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Jingbin Feng, R. Marshall Stowell, Shantinath Ghongadi, Zhian He, Frederick Dean Wilmot
  • Patent number: 10325773
    Abstract: Disclosed are methods and systems for providing silicon carbide films. A layer of silicon carbide can be provided under process conditions that employ one or more silicon-containing precursors that have one or more silicon-hydrogen bonds and/or silicon-silicon bonds. The silicon-containing precursors may also have one or more silicon-oxygen bonds and/or silicon-carbon bonds. One or more radical species in a substantially low energy state can react with the silicon-containing precursors to form the silicon carbide film. The one or more radical species can be formed in a remote plasma source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Bhadri N. Varadarajan, Bo Gong, Zhe Gui
  • Patent number: 10316409
    Abstract: A radical source for supplying radicals during atomic layer deposition semiconductor processing operations is provided. The radical source may include a remote volume, a baffle volume, and a baffle that partitions the remote volume from the baffle volume. The baffle volume and the remote volume may be fluidly connected through the baffle via a plurality of baffle holes. The baffle may be offset from a faceplate with a plurality of first gas distribution holes fluidly connected with the baffle volume. A baffle gas inlet may be fluidly connected with the baffle volume, and a first process gas inlet may be fluidly connected with the remote volume. Baffle gas may be flowed into the baffle volume to prevent radicalized first process gas in the remote volume from flowing through the baffle volume and the faceplate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Bart J. van Schravendijk
  • Patent number: 10309024
    Abstract: An apparatus for continuous simultaneous electroplating of two metals having substantially different standard electrodeposition potentials (e.g., for deposition of Sn—Ag alloys) comprises an anode chamber for containing an anolyte comprising ions of a first, less noble metal, (e.g., tin), but not of a second, more noble, metal (e.g., silver) and an active anode; a cathode chamber for containing catholyte including ions of a first metal (e.g., tin), ions of a second, more noble, metal (e.g., silver), and the substrate; a separation structure positioned between the anode chamber and the cathode chamber, where the separation structure substantially prevents transfer of more noble metal from catholyte to the anolyte; and fluidic features and an associated controller coupled to the apparatus and configured to perform continuous electroplating, while maintaining substantially constant concentrations of plating bath components for extended periods of use.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven T. Mayer, David W. Porter
  • Patent number: 10301738
    Abstract: Disclosed are pre-wetting apparatus designs and methods. In some embodiments, a pre-wetting apparatus includes a degasser, a process chamber, and a controller. The process chamber includes a wafer holder configured to hold a wafer substrate, a vacuum port configured to allow formation of a subatmospheric pressure in the process chamber, and a fluid inlet coupled to the degasser and configured to deliver a degassed pre-wetting fluid onto the wafer substrate at a velocity of at least about 7 meters per second whereby particles on the wafer substrate are dislodged and at a flow rate whereby dislodged particles are removed from the wafer substrate. The controller includes program instructions for forming a wetting layer on the wafer substrate in the process chamber by contacting the wafer substrate with the degassed pre-wetting fluid admitted through the fluid inlet at a flow rate of at least about 0.4 liters per minute.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 3, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Bryan L. Buckalew, Steven T. Mayer, Thomas A. Ponnuswamy, Robert Rash, Brian Paul Blackman, Doug Higley
  • Patent number: 10283615
    Abstract: Provided are methods and apparatuses for removing a polysilicon layer on a wafer, where the wafer can include a nitride layer, a low-k dielectric layer, an oxide layer, and other films. A plasma of a hydrogen-based species and a fluorine-based species is generated in a remote plasma source, and the wafer is exposed to the plasma at a relatively low temperature to limit the formation of solid byproduct. In some implementations, the wafer is maintained at a temperature below about 60° C. The polysilicon layer is removed at a very high etch rate, and the selectivity of polysilicon over the nitride layer and the oxide layer is very high. In some implementations, the wafer is supported on a wafer support having a plurality of thermal zones configured to define a plurality of different temperatures across the wafer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Dengliang Yang, Kwame Eason, Faisal Yaqoob, Joon Hong Park
  • Patent number: 10256142
    Abstract: Described herein are methods of filling features with tungsten, and related systems and apparatus, involving inhibition of tungsten nucleation. In some embodiments, the methods involve selective inhibition along a feature profile. Methods of selectively inhibiting tungsten nucleation can include exposing the feature to a direct or remote plasma. In certain embodiments, the substrate can be biased during selective inhibition. Process parameters including bias power, exposure time, plasma power, process pressure and plasma chemistry can be used to tune the inhibition profile. The methods described herein can be used to fill vertical features, such as in tungsten vias, and horizontal features, such as vertical NAND (VNAND) wordlines. The methods may be used for both conformal fill and bottom-up/inside-out fill. Examples of applications include logic and memory contact fill, DRAM buried wordline fill, vertically integrated memory gate/wordline fill, and 3-D integration using through-silicon vias.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2019
    Assignee: Novellus Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Anand Chandrashekar, Esther Jeng, Raashina Humayun, Michal Danek, Juwen Gao, Deqi Wang
  • Patent number: 10224182
    Abstract: A system for reducing parasitic plasma in a semiconductor process comprises a first surface and a plurality of dielectric layers that are arranged between an electrode and the first surface. The first surface and the electrode have substantially different electrical potentials. The plurality of dielectric layers defines a first gap between the electrode and one of the plurality of dielectric layers, a second gap between adjacent ones of the plurality of dielectric layers, and a third gap between a last one of the plurality of dielectric layers and the first surface. A number of the plurality of dielectric layers and sizes of the first gap, the second gap and the third gap are selected to prevent parasitic plasma between the first surface and the electrode during the semiconductor process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2019
    Assignee: NOVELLUS SYSTEMS, INC.
    Inventors: Douglas Keil, Edward Augustyniak, Karl Leeser, Mohamed Sabri