Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) reactors are being used at low gas pressure (<100mTorr) and high plasma density ([e] > 1013/cm2) processes in semiconductor fabrication. In these reactors plasma is generated by inductively coupled electric field while positive ions are accelerated anisotropically by applying a negative bias RF to the substrate. Semiconductor manufacturers face many challenges as wafer size increases while device geometries decrease. Two key challenges for both process design and electronics processing equipment design are (a) scale up of process from 200mm to 300mm diameter substrate, and (b) deposition and etching features with high aspect ratios. A unified phenomenological model to explain profile evolution trend as a function of aspect ratio for deposition (gap fill) and trench etch using ICP reactors is presented. Trends for feature evolution as a function of pressure for gap fill and trench etch are reviewed and explained. The article emphasizes importance of low pressure for sub-100nm gap-fill and trench-etch applications in ICP processing reactors.

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