/Stripping polymers in semiconductor FAB processes: Impact of rheology and substrate-polymer interactions

Stripping polymers in semiconductor FAB processes: Impact of rheology and substrate-polymer interactions

Leuven | More than two weeks ago

You will actively participate in cutting-edge chip manufacturing research and development, acquiring hands-on expertise with state-of-the-art equipment, both at IMEC and within the Softmatter Rheology and Technology group at KU Leuven

A typical process to create a simple electronic chip consists of 400-500 steps, with more than 1000 steps being required for the latest chip at IMEC. Here around 10% of the steps involve polymer coating and stripping in various forms. Polymers are used for making lithographic patterns, as protective layers to prevent particle accumulation on active surfaces, as temporary bonding materials during various operations like die transfer from one wafer to another, for wafer grinding etc. Once the polymers have done their job, they need to be removed without leaving even trace residues as this will impede the subsequent processes, thus leading to reduced yield of successful chips, which increases production costs.  The fundamental mechanisms governing the stripping or cleaning of polymers remain poorly understood. Especially the impact of upstream processing undergone by the polymer is largely unknown, hindering progress in this field. With this PhD work we would like to tackle some of the big challenges associated with polymer stripping.


Research Objectives:

  • Investigate the relations between polymer network structure and their ease of cleaning, by considering rheological behavior, swelling and dissolution in a solvent environment.
  • Investigate how substrate-polymer interactions affect the ease of cleaning, considering both chemical and physical bonding.
  • Investigate the impact of upstream processes such as temperature, exposure to chemical etchants and rinsing fluids, on polymer cleaning, both for bulk stripping and for residue removal on a substrate.

Required background: We are looking for an enthusiastic and hands-on PhD student with a strong background in Chemical engineering, materials science or applied physics and having creative mind.

Type of work: You will be part of IMEC's Surface and Interface Process Group, and KU Leuven, Soft Matter Rheology and Technology Group, renowned for their expertise in polymer rheology and processing. This work is 80% experimental.

Supervisor: Ruth Cardinaels

Co-supervisor: Naveen Reddy

Daily advisor: Naveen Reddy

The reference code for this position is 2024-057. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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