Novel Anti-Reflective Coating to Improve Microelectronic Processings

Period of Performance: 05/10/2000 - 10/09/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aspen Products Group, Inc.
184 Cedar Hill St. Array
Marlborough, MA 01752
Principal Investigator


One of the primary processes used for device patterning in the electronics industry is deep ultraviolet photolithography. However, the highly reflective substrates require reduction of this reflectivity to minimize standing waves and to maintain tight dimensional control. Most of the industry uses anti-reflective coatings (ARCs) which are applied using the spin coating technique. Unfortunately, spin coating is not a conformal coating and tends to planarize complex geometries, essentially filling in the holes and rounding the features. This results in erosion of feature sidewalls and loss of dimensional integrity. The industry requires a new process for application of ARCs which is highly conformal, has low defect density, and is equally applicable to substrates up to 12" diameter. Chemical Vapor Deposition of parylene is a mature technology that has been exploited by the electronics and medical industries for use as a conformal dielectric and biocompatible coating. Parylene, however, also has many properties desirable for ARCs, such as, excellent thickness control and uniformity, absorbance in the deep UV regime, low defect density, and superior conformality. We propose to investigate the deposition of parylene films for use as an Anti-Reflective Coating used in deep UV photolithography. We will assess parylene's suitability for use as an ARC in comparison to spin-coated ARCs. Continuing into Phase II we will develop processes and processing equipment to tailor material properties to enable the use of parylene coatings as fully-functional high performance ARCs. The availability of highly conformal (non-planarizing) anti-reflective coatings is essential for continued improvements in deep ultraviolet photolithographic processes used by the electronics industry. As the market for high performance ARCs grows toward 100 million, it is expected that CVD deposited parylene coatings, with superior conformality and low defectivity, will provide chip makers with high performance ARCs to enable them to meet continuing size reduction and production demands.