Creating three-dimensional nanoscale structures from the bottom-up by area-selective deposition

Leuven - PhD
More than two weeks ago

You will work together with a team of deposition and lithography specialists within an international environment in a 300 mm semiconductor cleanroom using advanced tools at the leading-edge technology.  


The fabrication processes of nano-electronic devices are becoming increasingly complex due to the miniaturization of device dimensions, the implementation of new materials and the fact that new device/design concepts often involve a transition in the vertical direction. Bottom-up approaches like area-selective deposition (ASD) are therefore attracting a lot of interest from semiconductor industry, as they hold the potential to complement traditional patterning for device fabrication and simply integration flows. The great opportunity for ASD is that it can in principle be used to place structures only where needed with atomic precision in both horizontal and vertical direction. This can be achieved by deposition techniques that rely on selective surface reactions like atomic layer deposition (ALD) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). In addition, ASD is a sustainable and cost effective approach that requires less chemical products and energy as compared to traditional top-down patterning.
Nevertheless, the number of industrial applications of ASD is currently limited, mainly because up till now ASD has been demonstrated only for a limited number of processes and materials and because of defectivity associated with nanoparticle formation in the non-growth patterns. In addition, our recent research has demonstrated that ASD of dielectrics and metals is highly dependent on the precursor, co-reagent and the deposition conditions.
The aim of this project is to generate insight in suitable chemistries for ASD processes of oxides and metals. The impact of the precursor, co-reagent and process conditions and how these affects selectivity need to be better understood. We will therefore investigate the selectivity window and the nucleation mechanisms for area selective deposition in nanoscale patterns for different precursors and process conditions. We will leverage Imec's 300mm production line and advanced node technologies to gain access to patterned structures with dimensions down to tens of nanometers in order to industrially relevant research.  Quantitative analysis of the selectivity and defectivity of ASD on the patterns will be enabled by combining advanced characterization techniques including Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, Rutherford Back-scattering Spectrometry, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy. As such, we will generate fundamental understanding the mechanisms of ASD for patterns with dimensions relevant for semiconductor device fabrication. This insight will contribute to a more efficient design of new ASD processes and as such to the extension of ASD material combinations, which can enable new applications.

Type of work: 10% literature study, 90% experimental work

Required background: chemistry, physics, materials, nanotechnology

Supervisor: Annelies Delabie

Daily advisor: Annelies Delabie

The reference code for this position is 1812-93. Mention this reference code on your application form.


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