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Semiconductor scaling continues steadily into the single-digit nodes, setting increasingly demanding requirements for precision and uniformity in chip fabrication. At earlier nodes, when features were larger, a greater range of variation in etch depth, line or space width, or profile angle could be accommodated without affecting device performance. Similarly, occasional particles remaining on feature surfaces did not jeopardize device reliability. At today’s leading-edge nodes, however, the slightest differences in etch depth, line or space width, or profile angle can be fatal flaws. And defect-free surfaces are equally essential.

Leveraging the exceptionally successful Centris Sym3 chamber design for semi-critical 3D NAND processes and refining it further for critical applications in DRAM and advanced logic/foundry, the highly versatile Centris Sym3 Y is now Applied’s most advanced etch system. Capable of precisely etching multiple layers of different materials in a single chamber, the system reduces cycle time and cost of ownership. It uses innovative pulsed RF source technology to achieve the extremely high selectivity necessary for these sequential steps, and the depth and profile control required to create densely packed, high-aspect-ratio structures, including FinFETs and emerging gate-all-around transistors.

A new electrostatic chuck reduces die-to-die variability across the wafer, while process kit design improves yield at the extreme edge of the wafer. The system’s high-conductivity architecture promotes quick and efficient removal of byproducts that are among the main causes of on-chip defects and device yield issues. To further reduce defects, a new, proprietary coating protects critical chamber parts from damage during the etch process, extending process kit lifetime, which also lowers cost of ownership. The Sym3 Y system consists of multiple etch chambers and plasma clean wafer processing chambers that feature system intelligence software to ensure that every process in every chamber matches precisely, enabling repeatability and high productivity for high-volume manufacturing.

With unmatched process uniformity and defect control, the Sym3 Y system offers customers new ways to shape and pattern materials, enabling new 3D structures and new ways to continue 2D shrinking even as chip features become tighter and smaller, aspect ratios greater, and materials more complex at advanced nodes.