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Producer® APF™ PECVD

The Applied Producer APF PECVD system produces a family of strippable amorphous carbon hard mask films for critical patterning steps.

Running at virtually every advanced DRAM, NAND flash, and NOR flash manufacturing site, the system produces the industry's first commercially available PECVD ashable amorphous carbon film for patterning STI, gate, bit line, contact, capacitor, and interconnect features. It is also one of the enabling films in self-aligned double patterning integration for scaling standard ArF lithography beyond its physical limitations.


Widely adopted as a patterning film for small features and high aspect ratio (HAR) structures, APF offers superior etch selectivity and lower line edge roughness (LER) than traditional photoresist (PR). With its PR-like ashability, it can be readily integrated into process flows. Used alone or in conjunction with Applied Materials' DARC (Dielectric Anti-Reflective Coating) films, this cost-effective litho-enabling film offers high etch selectivity for polysilicon, nitride and oxide; excellent CD control; and reduced LER.

Building on APF's excellent etch selectivity and LER, APFe enables deposition of thicker layers than APF (e.g., in capacitor formation and metal contacts for memory devices), while maintaining the alignment transparency necessary for etching HAR vias.

APFx expands APF applications to address patterning of metal lines and contacts at 5xnm and beyond. Besides excellent alignment transparency for lithography, APFx offers greater conformality which improves photoresist reworkability to reduce the number of post-patterning defects in applications with significant topography. APFx features the most robust mechanical characteristics, such as high elastic modulus and hardness with low stress and good adhesion properties, required for feature integrity in line-and-space patterning down to 3xnm.