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Updated 01/17/2023
2

SiO2 thin film creation in Diffusion furnace - Process Functional Modeling

Process Functional Modeling #

The oxidation process is performed within the vertical furnace. The Furnace temperature is created by three different heaters in three zones by different thermocouples.

The oxidation is performed in different steps:

  • Wafers are loaded from FOUP (special plastic box for wafers storage and transformation) into the boat - up to 150 wafers in one run. The furnace is kept open at 300C, N2 gas is supplied to the furnace and coming out of the furnace to prevent penetration of air from outside
  • The boat with the loaded wafers is moved up and loaded into the furnace
  • The furnace with the loaded boat with wafers is dwelled at 300C to reach the stable temperature
  • After the dwelling, the temperature is elevated up to the oxidation process temperature, and O2 gas is supplied to the furnace to provide the oxidation
  • After the completion of oxidation, the furnace is cooled down to 300C
  • The boat is moved down and removed from the furnace
  • The wafers are unloaded from the boat to the FOUP
  • The thickness of SiO2 on the wafers is measured using the ellipsometric method.


It is proposed to separate the process in the operations as follows:

  1. Pre-loading - loading wafers onto the boat
  2. Loading - loading the boat with the wafers into the furnace
  3. Stabilization - dwelling and increasing the temperature up to the target
  4. Oxidation - O2 supply
  5. Unloading - removing the boat from the boat
  6. Boat cooling & wafers unloading - unloading the wafers from the boat to the FOUP
  7. SiO2 thickness measurement


PRE-LOADING - Loading wafers to boat

5.57
1.26
4.43

LOADING - Loading boat to furnace

4.3
2.49
1.73

STABILIZATION - Dwelling & Temp increase

5.71
1.84
3.1

OXIDATION - O2 added

5.84
2.37
2.47

UNLOADING - Boat down from furnace

6.05
3.36
1.8

COOLING & WAFERS UNLOADING

6.67
2.5
2.67

SiO2 THICKNESS MEASUREMENT

4.67
1.67
2.8

Two operations were found as the most problematic: LOADING and UNLOADING - operations where wafers and the boat are moving within the furnace:


These two operations should be analyzed to find a solution to the problem

Jan 4 2023 11:34:07 am
PRE-LOADING - Loading wafers to boat #
(by Process Functional Modeling)

The conditions are as follows:

  • Furnace is open
  • Heaters keep the temperature of 300C
  • Atmosphere - N2 flows from the top of the furnace down and comes out of the furnace
  • Boat is empty
  • Wafers are in the FOUP (box for keeping and moving the wafers)
  • Robot picks the wafers from the FOUP and loads them into the boat

The operation's main purpose is loading the wafers into the boat

Product - Wafers

Functional rank
Problematic rank
Furnace
10
Robot
8.6
FOUP
8.6
Boat
8.6
Heaters
7.1
Controller
4.3
Thermocouples
2.9
N2 gas
10
Air
1.3

Looks like two separate loops: the boat with wafers and the furnace.

Air and N2 flow have no real function.

Jan 5 2023 3:02:22 pm
LOADING - Loading boat to furnace #
(by Process Functional Modeling)

The conditions are as follows:

  • Furnace is open
  • Heaters keep the temperature of 300C
  • Atmosphere - N2 flows from the top of the furnace down and comes out of the furnace
  • Wafers are in the boat
  • Elevator moves the boat with wafers into the furnace

The operation's main purpose is to load the boat with wafers into the furnace

Product - Boat

Functional rank
Problematic rank
Heaters
10
1.9
Furnace
8.8
N2 Gas
5
10
Controller
3.8
0.6
Thermocouples
2.5
0.5
Wafers
0.6
Air
3.8

Looks like a very problematic operation. Moving wafers insert the air residue into the furnace. N2 gas pushes the air residue to the bottom zone.

The cold wafers give the wrong reading to the bottom thermocouple (TC) - cold wafer cools the bottom TC, no correct feedback to the bottom TC because the wafers a moving up, a new cold wafer is coming to the bottom TC, etc. The "wrong information" of the bottom TC leads to the overheating of the bottom zone. After the loading, the bottom zone is overheated and consists of residual air.

Jan 5 2023 3:03:42 pm
STABILIZATION - Dwelling & Temp increase #
(by Process Functional Modeling)

The conditions are as follows:

  • Furnace is closed
  • Heaters keep the process temperature
  • Atmosphere - N2 is kept within the closed furnace
  • Boat keeps wafers

The operation's main purpose is to achieve an equal temperature within the furnace, to keep the wafers at the same temperature.

Product - Wafers within the furnace

Functional rank
Problematic rank
Furnace
10
10
Boat
10
Heaters
9
N2 Gas
6
Controller
3
Thermocouples
2
Air residue
2.9
Jan 5 2023 3:04:43 pm
OXIDATION - O2 added #
(by Process Functional Modeling)

The conditions are as follows:

  • Furnace is closed
  • Heaters keep the process temperature
  • Atmosphere - N2 is kept within the closed furnace
  • Boat keeps wafers
  • O2 is supplied to the furnace to ensure the interaction with wafers to create a SiO2 thin layer on the surface of the wafer.

The operation's main purpose is to create SiO2 layer

Product - SiO2 layer

Functional rank
Problematic rank
O2 gas
10
Furnace
8.3
10
N2 gas
7.5
3.3
Wafers
6.7
Heaters
6.7
Boat
5
Air residue
4.2
8
Controller
2.5
Thermocouples
1.7

The air residue is mainly located in the bottom part of the furnace - low zone are more affected

Jan 5 2023 3:15:59 pm
UNLOADING - Boat down from furnace #
(by Process Functional Modeling)

The conditions are as follows:

  • Furnace is closed
  • Heaters reduce the temperature down to 300C
  • Atmosphere - N2 flows from the top of the furnace down and comes out of the furnace
  • Wafers are in the boat
  • Elevator moves the boat with wafers down out of the furnace

The operation's main purpose is to load the boat with wafers into the furnace

Product - Boat

Functional rank
Problematic rank
Elevator
10
Air
8.3
Furnace
7.5
10
Heaters
6.7
9.2
N2 gas
6.7
Wafers
5
7.7
Controller
2.5
Thermocouples
1.7
Jan 5 2023 3:16:30 pm
COOLING & WAFERS UNLOADING #
(by Process Functional Modeling)

The conditions are as follows:

  • Furnace is open
  • Heaters keep the temperature of 300C
  • Atmosphere - N2 flows from the top of the furnace down and comes out of the furnace
  • Wafers are in the Boat
  • Robot picks the wafers from the boat and loads them into the FOUP

The operation's main purpose is loading the wafers into the FOUP

Product - Wafers

Functional rank
Problematic rank
Boat
10
Robot
10
FOUP
10
Air
10
10
N2 gas
5
No impact components:
Furnace

Nothing special has been found out. The only small point is the wafers are still hot, and outside air can interact with the wafers that are located within the boat. It is important that bottom-zone wafers will keep the temperature longer than the top-zone wafers because they are more closed to the massive bottom flange.

Jan 5 2023 3:17:25 pm
SiO2 THICKNESS MEASUREMENT #
(by Process Functional Modeling)

The thickness of the SiO2 thin film is measured using the ellipsometry method. The scheme of the measurements is shown below (the image was taken from the article):

The purpose of the operation is to generate a signal within the detector.

The product of the operation is the Detector.

Functional rank
Problematic rank
Reflected light
10
SiO2 thin layer
6
10
Wafer
4
Emitted light
4
Stage
2
Light source
2

The measurement operations typically are not problematic. Nevertheless, during the measurement operation, functional modeling raised a concern. The quality of the low-zone wafers is different from the mid-zone and top-zone wafers. For instance, the stoichiometry of SiO2 might change. Even small variations of stoichiometry can result in the same change in optical constants that may affect the model of ellipsometric model and result in SiO2 thickness.

So, should be taken into account.

Jan 9 2023 9:20:44 pm

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