(19)
(11)EP 3 166 135 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
10.05.2017 Bulletin 2017/19

(21)Application number: 16196136.2

(22)Date of filing:  27.10.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01L 21/8234(2006.01)
H01L 29/66(2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(30)Priority: 04.11.2015 CN 201510741804

(71)Applicants:
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (Shanghai)
    Shanghai 201203 (CN)
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (Beijing)
    Beijing 1000176 (CN)

(72)Inventor:
  • ZHOU, Fei
    Shanghai 201203 (CN)

(74)Representative: Klunker IP Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Destouchesstraße 68
80796 München
80796 München (DE)

  


(54)SEMICONDUCTOR STRUCTURES AND FABRICATION METHODS THEREOF


(57) A method for fabricating a semiconductor structure includes providing a substrate including a core region (II) and a peripheral region (I), forming a plurality of first fin structures in the peripheral region and a plurality of second fin structures in the core region, forming a first dummy gate structure including a first dummy oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer on each first fin structure, and forming a second dummy gate structure including a second dummy oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer on each second fin structure. The method further includes removing each first dummy gate structure and then forming a first gate oxide layer (470) on the exposed portion of each first fin structure, and removing each second dummy gate structure. Finally, the method includes forming a first gate structure on each first fin structure and a second gate structure on each second fin structure.




Description

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS



[0001] This application claims the priority of Chinese Patent Application No. CN201510741804.1, filed on November 4, 2015.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE



[0002] The present invention generally relates to the field of semiconductor fabrication technology and, more particularly, relates to semiconductor structures and fabrication methods thereof.

BACKGROUND



[0003] In the field of semiconductor fabrication, with very-large-scale integration (VLSI) becoming the development trend, the feature size of integrated circuits steadily decreases. To accommodate the decrease of the feature size, the channel length in metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect-transistors (MOSFET) also continuously decreases. However, as the channel length of devices becomes shorter, the distance between the source region and the drain region in the devices may also be reduced. Therefore, the gate electrode in traditional planar MOSFETs may not have sufficient ability to control the channel. It becomes more difficult for the gate voltage to pinch off the channel, and thus the subthreshold leakage phenomena, i.e. the short-channel effects may easily take place.

[0004] In order to better adapt to the decrease of the feature size, semiconductor fabrication technology gradually changes from planar MOSFETs to more efficient three-dimensional (3D) transistors, such as fin field-effect-transistors (Fin-FETs). In a Fin-FET, gate electrode is able to control an ultra-thin structure (e.g., a fin structure) from the two side surfaces of the ultra-thin structure. Therefore, Fin-FETs demonstrate much better gate-to-channel controllability than planar MOSFETs. As such, Fin-FETs may be able to significantly suppress the short-channel effects. In addition, compared to other devices, Fin-FETs may also demonstrate better compatibility with the existing fabrication technology for integrated circuits.

[0005] Fin-FETs may be classified mainly into two categories based on their functions, namely, core devices and peripheral devices (e.g. input/output (I/O) devices). In addition, according to the electrical types of the devices, the core devices may be further categorized into two types: core N-type metal-oxide-semiconductor (NMOS) devices and core P-type metal-oxide-semiconductor (PMOS) devices; the peripheral devices may be further categorized into two types: peripheral NMOS devices and peripheral PMOS devices.

[0006] Generally, the operation power voltage of the peripheral devices is significantly larger than the operation power voltage of the core devices. In order to prevent electrical breakdown and other issues, for a device with a higher operation power voltage, the thickness of the gate dielectric layer in the device may need to be larger. Therefore, the thickness of the gate dielectric layers in peripheral devices is usually larger than the thickness of the gate dielectric layers in core devices.

[0007] However, the electrical performance of existing semiconductor structures may still need to be improved. The disclosed semiconductor structures and fabrication methods thereof are directed to solve one or more problems set forth above and other problems in the art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE



[0008] One aspect of the present invention includes a method for fabricating a semiconductor structure. The method includes forming a semiconductor base structure. The semiconductor base structure includes a substrate and a plurality of fin structures formed on the substrate. The substrate further includes a peripheral region and a core region. Fin structures formed in the peripheral region are first fin structures and fin structures formed in the core region are second fin structures. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure further includes forming a first dummy gate structure on each first fin structure and a second dummy gate structure on each second fin structure, and forming a dielectric layer on the semiconductor base structure. The top surface of the dielectric layer is leveled with the top surfaces of the first dummy gate structures and the second dummy gate structures. The method then includes removing each first dummy gate structure to form a first opening in the dielectric layer to expose a portion of the first fin structure, forming a first gate oxide layer on the exposed portion of each first fin structure, removing each second dummy gate structure to form a second opening in the dielectric layer to expose a portion of the second fin structure, and forming a gate dielectric layer to cover each first gate oxide layer, sidewall surfaces of each first opening, and bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening. Finally, the method for fabricating the semiconductor structure includes forming a metal layer to cover the gate dielectric layer and fill up the first openings and the second openings. The first gate oxide layer, the gate dielectric layer, and the metal layer formed in each first opening together form a first gate structure, and the gate dielectric layer and the metal layer formed in each second opening together form a second gate structure.

[0009] The first gate oxide layer is preferably made of SiOx.

[0010] The first gate oxide layer may be formed by an in-situ steam generation (ISSG) oxidation process. Process parameters used in the ISSG oxidation process may include: a process gas including 02 and H2; a flow rate of 02 in a range of 1 sccm to 30 sccm; a flow rate of H2 in a range of 1.5 sccm to 15 sccm; and a chamber temperature in a range of 700 °C to 1200 °C.

[0011] The dielectric layer is preferably made of one of HfO2, HfSiO, HfSiON, HfTaO, HfTiO, HfZrO, ZrO2, and Al2O3.

[0012] The core region and the peripheral region are preferably both P-type regions, or both N-type regions.

[0013] After forming the gate dielectric layer but prior to filling the first openings and the second openings with the metal layer, a work function layer may be formed on the gate dielectric layer.

[0014] When the core region and the peripheral region are both N-type regions, the work function layer is preferably made of an N-type work function material. When the core region and the peripheral region are both N-type regions, the N-type work function layer is preferably made of one or more of TiAl, TaAIN, TiAIN, MoN, TaCN, and AlN;

[0015] When the core region and the peripheral region are both P-type regions, the work function layer is preferably made of a P-type work function material. When the core region and the peripheral region are both P-type regions, the P-type work function layer is preferably made of one or more of Ta, TiN, TaN, TaSiN, and TiSiN.

[0016] The metal layer is prerably made of one of Al, Cu, Ag, Au, Pt, Ni, Ti, and W.

[0017] The first dummy gate structure may include a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer formed on the first dummy gate oxide layer. The second dummy gate structure may include a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer formed on the second dummy gate oxide layer. The first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure are preferably formed by a process including: forming a dummy gate oxide film to cover the first fin structures and the second fin structures; forming a dummy gate electrode film on the dummy gate oxide film; forming a first patterned layer on the dummy gate electrode film, wherein positions, shapes, and dimensions of the first patterned layer define positions, shapes, and dimensions for subsequently-formed dummy gate electrode layers; performing an etching process to etch the dummy gate electrode film and the dummy gate oxide film to form a first dummy gate structure on each first fin structure in the peripheral region and form a second dummy gate structure on each second fin structure in the core region, wherein the first dummy gate structure includes a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer, and the second dummy gate structure includes a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer; and removing the first patterned layer.

[0018] Each first dummy gate structure may include a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer formed on the first dummy gate oxide layer. Here, removing the first dummy gate structure may include: forming a second patterned layer to cover the core region, wherein the second patterned layer exposes a top surface of the first dummy gate electrode layer; performing a dry etching process to remove the first dummy gate electrode layer and the first dummy gate oxide layer using the second patterned layer as an etch mask until a portion of the first fin structure is exposed and a first opening is formed in the dielectric layer; and removing the second patterned layer.

[0019] The second dummy gate structure may include a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer formed on the second dummy gate oxide layer. Here, removing the second dummy gate structure includes: forming a third patterned layer to cover the peripheral region, wherein the third patterned layer exposes a top surface of the second dummy gate electrode layer; performing a dry etching process to remove the second dummy gate electrode layer and then the second dummy gate oxide layer using the third patterned layer as an etch mask until a portion of the second fin structure is exposed and a second opening is formed in the dielectric layer; and removing the third patterned layer.

[0020] The first gate structure and the second gate structure may be formed by a process including: forming the gate dielectric layer on the first gate oxide layer in each first opening, sidewall surfaces of each first opening, and bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening, wherein the gate dielectric layer also covers the top surface of the dielectric layer; forming a work function layer on the gate dielectric layer; forming a metal layer on the work function layer to fill up the first openings and the second openings, wherein a top surface of the metal layer is higher than the top surface of the dielectric layer; removing a portion of the metal layer formed above the dielectric layer to form a first gate electrode layer on the work function layer in each first opening in the peripheral region and a second gate electrode layer on the work function layer in each second opening in the core region; and removing a portion of the gate dielectric layer and the work function layer formed above the dielectric layer to form a first gate dielectric layer on each first gate oxide layer as well as sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening in the peripheral region, a first work function layer on each first gate dielectric layer, a second gate dielectric layer on bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening in the core region, and a second work function layer on each second gate dielectric layer, wherein, the first gate oxide layer, the first gate dielectric layer, the first work function layer, and the first gate electrode layer in each first opening together form a first gate structure; and the second gate dielectric layer, the second work function layer, and the second gate electrode layer together form a second gate structure.

[0021] After removing the second dummy gate structures and prior to forming the gate dielectric layer, an interface layer may be formed on the first gate oxide layer in each first opening, sidewall surfaces of each first opening, and bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening, wherein the interface layer also covers the top surface of the dielectric layer; and in the course of removing the portion of the metal layer, the work function layer, and the gate dielectric layer formed above the dielectric layer, a portion of the interface layer formed above the dielectric layer is also removed to form a first interface layer on each first gate oxide layer as well as sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening in the peripheral region, and a second interface layer on bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening in the core region.

[0022] The first dummy gate structure may include a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer formed on the first dummy gate oxide layer. The second dummy gate structure may include a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer formed on the second dummy gate oxide layer. The first dummy gate electrode layer is made of one of polycrystalline silicon, SiOx, SiNx, SiON, SiCN, SiCON, and amorphous silicon. The second dummy gate electrode layer is made of one of polycrystalline silicon, SiOx, SiNx, SiON, SiCN, SiCON, and amorphous silicon.

[0023] After forming the first dummy gate structure on each first fin structure and the second dummy structure on each second fin structure and prior to forming the dielectric layer on the semiconductor base structure, the method may further include: forming a first peripheral-region sidewall spacer on each sidewall surface of the first dummy fin structure and a first core-region sidewall spacer on each sidewall surface of the second dummy fin structure; forming a peripheral-region stress layer in the first fin structure on each side of the first dummy gate structure and a core-region stress layer in the second fin structure on each side of the second dummy gate structure; forming a second peripheral-region sidewall spacer on a sidewall surface of each first peripheral-region sidewall spacer and a second core-region sidewall spacer on a sidewall surface of each first core-region sidewall spacer; and forming a peripheral-region source region and a peripheral-region drain region in the first fin structure and the peripheral-region stress layer on each side of the first dummy gate structure and a core-region source region and a core-region drain region in the second fin structure and the core-region stress layer on each side of the second dummy gate structure.

[0024] The peripheral-region stress layer is preferably made of silicon.

[0025] The peripheral-region stress layer is preferably formed by an epitaxial chemical vapor deposition growth process.

[0026] The core-region stress layer is preferably made of silicon.

[0027] The core-region stress layer is preferably formed by an epitaxial chemical vapor deposition growth process.

[0028] Process parameters used in the epitaxial chemical vapor deposition growth process may include: a process temperature in a range of 500 °C to 950 °C; a process time in a range of 1000 s to 11000 s; a chamber pressure in a range of 5 Torr to 1000 Torr; a pretreatment gas of H2; and a reaction gas including one or more of HCl, SiH2Cl2, and SiH4.

[0029] Another aspect of the present invention provides a semiconductor structure. The semiconductor structure includes a semiconductor base structure. The semiconductor base structure includes a substrate and a plurality of fin structures formed on the substrate. The substrate further includes a peripheral region and a core region. Fin structures formed in the peripheral region are first fin structures and fin structures formed in the core region are second fin structures. The semiconductor structure further includes a first gate structure formed on a portion of each first fin structure in the peripheral region and a second gate structure formed on a portion of each second fin structure in the core region, and a dielectric layer formed on the semiconductor base structure. The top surface of the dielectric layer is leveled with the top surfaces of the first gate structures and the second gate structures. Each first gate structure is formed on the portion of the first fin structure in the peripheral region after removing a first dummy gate structure initially formed on the first fin structure to form a first opening in the dielectric layer and expose the portion of the first fin structure; and each second gate structure is formed on the portion of the second fin structure in the core region after removing a second dummy gate structure initially formed on the second fin structure to form a second opening in the dielectric layer and expose the portion of the second fin structure. Further, each first gate structure in the peripheral region includes a first gate oxide layer formed on the first fin structure, a gate dielectric layer formed on the first gate oxide layer and sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening, and a first gate electrode layer formed on the first gate dielectric layer; and each second gate structure in the core region includes a second gate dielectric layer formed on the second fin structure and sidewall surfaces of the corresponding second opening, and a second gate electrode layer formed on the second gate dielectric layer.

[0030] The first gate structure may also include a first interface layer formed on the first gate oxide layer and sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening.

[0031] The first gate dielectric layer may be formed on the first interface layer.

[0032] The second gate structure may also include a second interface layer formed on the exposed portion of the second fin structure in the second opening and also on sidewall surfaces of the corresponding second opening.

[0033] The second gate dielectric layer may be formed on the second interface layer.

[0034] The first gate structure may also include a first work function layer formed between the first gate dielectric layer and the first gate electrode layer.

[0035] The second gate structure may also include a second work function layer formed between the second gate dielectric layer and the second gate electrode layer.

[0036] Other aspects of the present invention can be understood by those skilled in the art in light of the description, the claims, and the drawings of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0037] The following drawings are merely examples for illustrative purposes according to various disclosed embodiments and are not intended to limit the scope of the present invention which is defined by the claims.

Figures 1-5 illustrate schematic cross-section views of semiconductor structures at certain stages of an existing fabrication process;

Figures 6-18 illustrate schematic cross-section views of semiconductor structures at certain stages of an exemplary fabrication process consistent with disclosed embodiments in the present invention; and

Figure 19 illustrates a flowchart of an exemplary fabrication process for a semiconductor structure consistent with disclosed embodiments in the present invention.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0038] Reference will now be made in detail to exemplary embodiments of the invention, which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

[0039] For existing semiconductor devices, the electrical performance may still need to be improved. Figures 1-5 show schematic cross-section views of semiconductor structures at certain stages of an existing fabrication process.

[0040] Referring to Figure 1, a semiconductor base structure is formed. The semiconductor base structure includes a substrate 100 and a plurality of fin structures protruding from the substrate 100. The substrate 100 includes a peripheral region I and a core region II, and the plurality of fin structures are formed in both the peripheral region I and the core region II. For illustration purposes, the semiconductor base structure is described to have a first fin structure 110 formed on the substrate 100 in the peripheral region I and a second fin structure 120 formed on the substrate 100 in the core region II.

[0041] Further, the semiconductor base structure also includes a first dummy gate structure (not shown) formed in the peripheral region I, a second dummy gate structure (not shown) formed in the core region II, peripheral-region source/drain regions 113 formed on the two sides of the first dummy gate structure, core-region source/drain regions 123 formed on the two sides of the second dummy gate structure. The first dummy gate structure also includes a first dummy gate oxide layer 111 formed on the surface of the first fin structure 110, and a first dummy gate electrode layer 112 formed on the surface of the first dummy gate oxide layer 111. The second dummy gate structure also includes a second dummy gate oxide layer 121 formed on the surface of the second fin structure 120, and a second dummy gate electrode layer 122 formed on the surface of the second dummy gate oxide layer 121. The semiconductor base structure further includes a dielectric layer 130 covering the side surfaces of the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure.

[0042] Referring to Figure 2, the first dummy gate electrode layer 112 (referring to Figure 1) is removed by etching to expose a portion of the surface of the first dummy gate oxide layer 111 and form a first opening 200 in the dielectric layer 130. Similarly, the second dummy gate electrode layer 122 (referring to Figure 1) is also removed by etching to expose a portion of the surface of the second dummy gate oxide layer 121 and form a second opening 210 in the dielectric layer 130.

[0043] Referring to Figure 3, a first patterned layer 300 is formed to cover the peripheral region I. Specifically, the first patterned layer 300 covers the dielectric layer 130 in the peripheral region I and also fills up the first opening 200 (referring to Figure 2). However, the first patterned layer 300 does not cover the second dummy gate oxide layer 121 (referring to Figure 2) on the bottom of the second opening 210. That is, the second dummy gate oxide layer 121 (referring to Figure 2) on the bottom of the second opening 210 is exposed. Further, the second dummy gate oxide layer 121 on the bottom of the second opening 210 is removed through an etching process using the first patterned layer 300 as an etch mask. Finally, the first patterned layer 300 is removed after removing the second dummy gate oxide layer 121.

[0044] Referring to Figure 4, an interface layer 140 is formed on the surface of the first dummy gate oxide layer 111 situated on the bottom of the first opening 200 (referring to Figure 2), the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 200, the bottom surface of the second opening 210 (referring to Figure 2), and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 210. The interface layer 140 also covers the surface of the dielectric layer 130. Further, a gate dielectric layer 150 is formed on the surface of the interface layer 140, and then a work function layer 160 is formed on the surface of the gate dielectric layer 150.

[0045] Referring to Figure 5, a metal layer (not shown) is formed on the work function layer 160. The metal layer fills up the first opening 200 (referring to Figure 2) and the second opening 210 (referring to Figure 2). The top surface of the metal layer is higher than the top surface of the dielectric layer 130. The portion of the metal layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 130 is then removed by polishing. Further, a first gate electrode layer 114 is formed on the surface of the work function layer 160 in the peripheral region I and a second gate electrode layer 124 is formed on the surface of the work function layer 160 in the core region II.

[0046] Specifically, during the polishing process to remove the portion of the metal layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 130, the portion of each of the work function layer 160, the gate dielectric layer 150, and the interface layer 140 formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 130 is also removed. As such, in the peripheral region I, a first interface layer 115 is formed on the surface of the first dummy gate oxide layer 111 and the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 200 (referring to Figure 2), a first gate dielectric layer 116 is formed on the surface of the first interface layer 115, and a first work function layer 117 is formed on the surface of the first gate dielectric layer 116. Simultaneously, in the core region I, a second interface layer 125 is formed on the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 210 (referring to Figure 2), a second gate dielectric layer 126 is formed on the surface of the second interface layer 125, and a second work function layer 127 is formed on the surface of the second gate dielectric layer 126. The first dummy gate oxide layer 111, the first interface layer 115, the first gate dielectric layer 116, the first work function layer 117, and the first gate electrode layer 114 together form a first gate structure in the peripheral region I. In the meantime, the second interface layer 125, the second gate dielectric layer 126, the second work function layer 127, and the second gate electrode layer 124 together form a second gate structure in the core region II.

[0047] According to current fabrication methods, the first dummy gate oxide layer 111 is served as a part of the first gate structure. However, the etching process performed in the course of fabricating the first dummy gate structure (not shown) may easily cause damages to the first dummy gate oxide layer 111, and thus may further affect the quality of the subsequently-formed first gate structure in the peripheral region I. Because the damaged region may be closed to the channel edge of the peripheral device, the electrical performance of the semiconductor device may be degraded.

[0048] The present invention provides a semiconductor structure and a method for fabricating a semiconductor structure. Figure 19 shows a flowchart of an exemplary fabrication process consistent with the disclosed embodiments. Figures 6-18 show schematic views of semiconductor structure at certain stages of the fabrication process consistent with the disclosed embodiments.

[0049] Referring Figure 19, at the beginning of the fabrication process, a semiconductor base structure is formed (S801). Figure 6 shows a perspective view of the semiconductor base structure. Figure 7 shows a schematic cross-section view of the semiconductor base structure shown in Figure 6 along an AA1 line.

[0050] Referring to Figures 6-7, a semiconductor base structure may be formed. The semiconductor base structure may include a substrate 400 and a plurality of fin structures protruding from the substrate 400. The substrate 400 may further include a peripheral region I (referring to Figure 7) and a core region II (referring to Figure 7). A plurality of fin structures may be formed on the substrate in both the peripheral region I and the core region II. For illustration purposes, the semiconductor base structure is described to have a first fin structure 410 formed on the substrate 400 in the peripheral region I and a second fin structure 420 formed on the substrate 400 in the core region II, although any number of fin structures may be formed in each of the peripheral region I and the core region II.

[0051] In one embodiment, a Fin-FET subsequently-formed in the peripheral region I may be used for signal I/O, and the operation power voltage of the Fin-FET subsequently-formed in the peripheral region I may be larger than the operation power voltage of a Fin-FET subsequently-formed in the core region II.

[0052] The substrate 400 may be made of one of silicon, germanium, SiGe, SiC, GaAs, InAs, etc. The substrate 400 may also be a silicon on insulator (SOI) or germanium on insulator (GOI) substrate. The first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may be made of one of silicon, germanium, SiGe, SiC, GaAs, InAs, etc. In one embodiment, the substrate 400 is a silicon substrate, and the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 are also made of silicon. Moreover, the peripheral region I and the core region II may both be N-type regions or may both be P-type regions.

[0053] In one embodiment, the semiconductor base structure may be formed by a process including the following steps. First, an initial substrate is provided. A patterned layer (not shown) may be formed on the surface of the initial substrate. A hard mask layer 500 may be formed on the surfaces of the patterned layer and the initial substrate. Further, an etching process may be performed on the hard mask layer 500, which is formed on the top of the patterned layer and the initial substrate. After the etching process, only the portion of the hard mask layer 500 formed on the sidewall surfaces of the patterned layer may remain. The patterned layer may then be removed to expose a portion of the initial substrate. The shape, the dimension, and the position of the remaining patterned hard mask layer 500 may define the shape, the dimension, and the position of the fin structures to be formed. Finally, a plurality of discrete bulges may be formed by etching the initial substrate along the exposed surface of the initial substrate using the remaining patterned hard mask layer 500 as an etch mask. The bulges formed by the etching process may become the fin structures of the semiconductor base structure, and the etched initial substrate may become the substrate 400. The substrate 400 further includes a peripheral region I and a core region II. The fin structure formed in the peripheral region I may be the first fin structure 410 and the fin structure formed in the core region II may be the second fin structure 420, as shown in Figure 7.

[0054] In one embodiment, the top dimension of the first fin structure 410 may be smaller than the bottom dimension of the first fin structure 410, and the top dimension of the second fin structure 420 may be smaller than the bottom dimension of the second fin structure 420. In other embodiments, the sidewalls of the first fin structure may be perpendicular to the surface of the substrate. That is, the top dimension of the first fin structure may be equal to the bottom dimension of the first fin structure. Similarly, the sidewalls of the second fin structure may be perpendicular to the surface of the substrate. That is, the top dimension of the second fin structure may be equal to the bottom dimension of the second fin structure.

[0055] After forming the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420, the portion of the hard mask layer 500 situated on the top of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may be kept. The hard mask layer 500 may be made of SiNx. During a subsequently performed planarization process, the hard mask layer 500 may serve as a stop layer for the planarization process. In addition, the hard mask layer 500 may also provide protection for the top of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 during subsequent fabrication processes.

[0056] In other embodiment, the semiconductor base structure may also be formed by a process including the following steps. First, an initial substrate is provided. A patterned hard mask layer may be formed on the surface of the initial substrate. The position, the shape, and the dimension of the patterned hard mask layer may define the position, the shape, and the dimension of the subsequently-formed fin structures. Then, a plurality of bulges may be formed by etching the initial substrate using the patterned mask layer as an etch mask. The bulges formed by the etching process may be the fin structures and the etched initial substrate may become the substrate. The substrate further includes a peripheral region and a core region. The fin structure formed in the peripheral region may be the first fin structure and the fin structure formed in the core region may be the second fin structure.

[0057] Further, returning to Figure 19, a linearly-oxidized layer may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure and the second fin structure (S802). Figure 8 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure.

[0058] Referring to Figure 8, a linearly-oxidized layer 401 may be formed on each of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420. The linearly-oxidized layer 401 may be used to recondition the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420.

[0059] Because the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 are formed by etching the initial substrate, the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may often have protruding edges and corners. In addition, defects may also exist at the surfaces of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420. Therefore, the performance of subsequently-formed Fin-FETs may be affected.

[0060] In one embodiment, an oxidation treatment process may be performed on the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 to form a linearly-oxidized layer 401 on each of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420. Because the protruding edges and corners of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may have a larger specific surface area than structures with flat surfaces, the protruding edges and corners may be easily oxidized during the oxidation treatment process. Therefore, after removing the linearly-oxidized layer 401 in a subsequent process, not only the defect layer at the surface of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may be removed, but the protruding edges and corners may be removed. As such, the surfaces of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may become smooth and the lattice quality may also be improved. Thus, point discharge at the top tips of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may be avoided, which may further help improve the performance of the Fin-FETs.

[0061] The oxidation treatment process may be an oxygen plasma oxidation process or a solution oxidation process using a mixture of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide. The oxidation treatment process may also oxidize the surface of the substrate 400. Therefore, a linearly-oxidized layer 401 may also be formed at the surface of the substrate 400. In one embodiment, the oxygen treatment process performed on the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 in order to form the linearly-oxidized layers 401 may be an in-situ steam generation (ISSG) oxidation process. Accordingly, the linearly-oxidized layers 401 are made of SiO2.

[0062] Further, returning to Figure 19, an isolation layer may be formed on the surface of the substrate (S803). Figure 9 shows a schematic cross-second view of the semiconductor structure.

[0063] Referring to Figure 9, an isolation layer 402 may be formed on the surface of the substrate 400. The isolation layer 402 may be used as an isolation structure in semiconductor structure. Specifically, the isolation layer 402 may be used to electrically isolate adjacent devices. The isolation layer 402 may be made of SiOx, SiNx, SiON, or any appropriate material. In one embodiment, the isolation layer 402 is made of SiOx.

[0064] In one embodiment, the isolation layer 402 is a shallow trench isolation (STI) layer. In other embodiments, the isolation layer may not be limited to STI layer and may have other appropriate forms that may provide sufficient electrical isolation between neighboring devices.

[0065] The isolation layer 402 may be formed by a process including the following steps. First, an isolation film may be formed on the surfaces of the linearly-oxidized layers 401. The isolation film may also cover the surface of the hard mask layer 500; that is, the top of the isolation film may be higher than the top of the hard mask layer 500. A planarization process may be performed on the isolation film until the surface of the hard mask layer 500 is exposed. Further, the isolation layer 402 may be formed by removing a top portion of the isolation film through an etch-back process. Finally, a portion of each linearly-oxidized layer 401 formed above the top surface of the isolation layer 402 (referring to Figure 8) may be removed, and then the hard mask layer 500 may also be removed.

[0066] The material used to form the isolation film may be different from the materials used for the first fin structure 410, the second fin structure 420, and substrate 400. Moreover, the isolation layer may be made of a material that can be easily removed. As such, during the subsequent process to remove the portion of the isolation film, damages to the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may be avoided.

[0067] The isolation film may be made of one of amorphous silicon, SiOx, SiON, SiC, SiOC, SiCON, etc. The isolation film may be formed by chemical vapor deposition (CVD), physical vapor deposition (PVD), or atomic layer deposition (ALD). In one embodiment, the isolation film is made ofSiOx and formed by a CVD process.

[0068] In one embodiment, a chemical mechanical planarization process may be performed to planarize the isolation film until the surface of the mask layer 500 is exposed. Then, the isolation layer 402 may be formed by performing a dry etching process, a wet etching process, or a process combining dry etching and wet etching to remove a portion of the isolation film.

[0069] The ratio between the thickness of the isolation layer 402 and the height of the first fin structure 410 or the second fin structure 420 may be greater than or equal to ¼ but less than or equal to ½. In one embodiment, the ratio between the thickness of the isolation layer 402 and the height of the first fin structure 410 or the second fin structure 420 is ½.

[0070] Further, returning to Figure 19, a first dummy gate structure may be formed on the first fin structure and a second dummy gate structure may be formed on the second fin structure (S804). Figure 10 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure. Specifically, the schematic view shown in Figure 10 corresponds to the cross-section of the semiconductor structure along a BB1 line (referring to Figure 6).

[0071] Referring to Figure 10, a first dummy gate structure (not shown) may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure 410 and a second dummy gate structure (not shown) may be formed on the surface of the second fin structure 420. The first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure may be used to occupy spaces for a subsequently-formed first gate structure and a subsequently-formed second gate structure, respectively.

[0072] In one embodiment, the first dummy gate structure includes a first dummy gate oxide layer 411 and a first dummy gate electrode layer 412; the second dummy gate structure includes a second dummy gate oxide layer 421 and a second dummy gate electrode layer 422.

[0073] The first dummy gate oxide layer 411 and the second dummy gate oxide layer 421 may be made of SiOx. The first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be made of polycrystalline silicon, SiOx, SiNx, SiON, SiCN, SiCON, or amorphous silicon. In one embodiment, the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 are both made of polycrystalline silicon.

[0074] Specifically, the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure may be formed by a process including the following steps. First, a dummy gate oxide film may be formed on the surfaces of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420. The dummy gate oxide film may also cover the surfaces of the substrate 400 and the isolation layer 402. A dummy gate electrode film may then be formed on the surface of the dummy gate oxide film, and a first patterned layer 510 may be formed on the surface of the dummy gate electrode film. The position, the shape, and the dimension of the first patterned layer 510 may define the position, the shape, and the dimension for subsequently-formed dummy gate electrode layers. An etching process may then be performed using the first patterned layer 510 as an etch mask to sequentially etch the dummy gate electrode film and the dummy gate oxide film. After the etching process, a first dummy gate structure may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure 410 in the peripheral region I and a second dummy gate structure may be formed on the surface of the second fin structure 420 in the core region II. Specifically, the first dummy gate structure may include a first dummy gate oxide layer 411 and a first dummy gate electrode layer 412 while the second dummy gate structure may include a second dummy gate oxide layer 421 and a second dummy gate electrode layer 422. Finally, after forming the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure, the first patterned layer 510 may be removed.

[0075] In one embodiment, the first patterned layer 510 is a hard mask layer. The first patterned layer 510 may be made of SiNx.

[0076] Returning to Figure 19, further, a first peripheral-region sidewall spacer may be formed on each sidewall of the first dummy gate structure in the peripheral region and a first core-region sidewall spacer may also be formed on each sidewall of the second dummy gate structure in the core region (S805). Figure 11 shows a schematic cross-section view of the corresponding structure along the BB1 line (referring to Figure 6).

[0077] Referring to Figure 11, a first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 may be formed on each sidewall surface of the first dummy gate structure in the peripheral region I and a first core-region sidewall spacer 423 may be formed on each sidewall surface of the second dummy gate structure in the core region II.

[0078] The first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 formed in the peripheral region I may be made ofSiOx, SiNx, SiC, SiCN, SiCON, SiON, BN, or BCN. The first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 formed in the peripheral region I may have a single-layer structure or a multiple-layer structure. The first core-region sidewall spacer 423 formed in the core region II may be made ofSiOx, SiNx, SiC, SiCN, SiCON, SiON, BN, or BCN. The first core-region sidewall spacer 423 formed in the core region II may have a single-layer structure or a multiple-layer structure.

[0079] In one embodiment, the first peripheral-region sidewall 413 in the peripheral region I may have a single-layer structure and may be made of SiNx; while the first core-region sidewall 423 in the core region II may have a single-layer structure and may be made of SiNx.

[0080] Specifically, the first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 in the peripheral region I and the first core-region sidewall spacer 423 in the core region II may be formed by a process including the following steps. First, a first sidewall film may be formed on the surfaces of the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure. The first sidewall film may also cover the surfaces of the substrate 400 and the isolation layer 402. The portion of the first sidewall film formed on the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be removed by performing a maskless etching process. After the maskless etching process, a first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 may be formed on each sidewall surface of the first dummy gate structure in the peripheral region I and a first core-region sidewall spacer 423 may be formed on each sidewall surface of the second dummy gate structure in the core region II.

[0081] In one embodiment, the maskless etching process may be a plasma dry etching process. The portion of the first sidewall film formed on the top of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the top of the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be removed by etching to form a first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 on each sidewall of the first dummy gate structure in the peripheral region I and a first core-region sidewall spacer 423 on each side wall of the second dummy gate structure in the core region II. During the dry etching process, a portion of the first sidewall film formed on the surfaces of the substrate 400 and the isolation layer 402 may be removed.

[0082] Further, returning to Figure 19, a peripheral-region stress layer may be formed in the first fin structure on the two sides of the first dummy gate structure, and a core-region stress layer may be formed in second fin structure on the two sides of the second dummy gate structure (S806). Figure 12 shows a schematic cross-section view of the semiconductor structures.

[0083] Referring to Figure 12, a peripheral-region stress layer 414 may be formed in the first fin structure 410 on the two sides of the first dummy gate structure. In addition, a core-region stress layer 424 may be formed in the second fin structure 420 on the two sides of the second dummy gate structure.

[0084] The peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 may be used to reduce the resistance of the device as well as the contact resistance in the device. In the meantime, the peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 may also induce appropriate stress into the channel region of devices in the peripheral region I and also into the channel region of devices in the core groin II. Therefore, the mobility of electrons and holes may be improved, and thus the performance of the semiconductor device may also be improved.

[0085] Specifically, the peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 may be formed by a process including the following steps. First, a mask layer (not shown) may be formed on the surface of the semiconductor base structure. The mask layer may also cover the surfaces of the first dummy gate structure, the second dummy gate structure, the isolation layer 402, and the substrate 400. The mask layer may expose a portion of the surface of the first fin structure 410 on each side of the first dummy gate structure and a portion of the surface of the second fin structure 420 on each side of the second dummy gate structure. Further, the exposed portion of the first fin structure 410 and the second fin structure 420 may be etched by a first etching process using the mask layer as an etch mask. An initial opening (not shown) may then be formed in the first fin structure 410 on each side of the first dummy gate structure; in addition, an initial opening (not shown) may also be formed in the second fin structure 420 on each side of the second dummy gate structure. Each initial openings may be further etched by a second etching process using the mask layer as an etch mask to form a trench (not shown). The depth of the trench may be larger than the depth of the initial opening, while the cross-sectional area of the trench may also be larger than the cross-sectional area of the initial opening. After forming the trenches, the mask layer may be removed by a wet etching process or by an ashing process. Finally, a peripheral-region stress layer 414 may be formed in each trench formed in the first fin structure 410 and a core-region stress layer 424 may be formed in each trench formed in the second fin structure 420.

[0086] In one embodiment, the first etching process is a plasma dry etching process. The process parameters used in the first etching process may include an etch gas including one or more of CF4, CH3F, HBr, NF3, Cl2, O2, and N2, a carrier gas including at least one of Ar and He, a chamber pressure in a range of 2 mTorr to 100 mTorr, an offset voltage in a range of 50 V to 250 V, a process temperature in a range of 30 °C to 100 °C, and a process time in a range of 3 s to 20 s.

[0087] In one embodiment, the second etching process is a wet etching process. The wet etching process may demonstrate a large etch selectivity ratio on silicon. Specifically, during the wet etching process, the etching rate on silicon is anisotropic, and thus trenches may then be formed in the first fin structure 410 on the two sides of the first dummy gate structure and in the second fin structure 420 on the two sides of the second dummy gate structure. The wet etching process may use an etching liquid including tetramethyl ammonium hydroxide solution. During the wet etching process, the process temperature may be in a range of 20 °C to 120 °C and the process time may be in a range of 20 s to 500 s.

[0088] The peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 may be made of one of silicon, germanium, SiGe, SiC, GaAs, InAs, etc. In one embodiment, the peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 are both made of silicon.

[0089] In one embodiment, the peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 may be formed by an epitaxial CVD growth process. The lattice constant of the material used to form the peripheral-region stress layer 414 may be the same as the lattice constant of the material of the first fin structure 410, while the lattice constant of the material used to form the core-region stress layer 424 may be the same as the lattice constant of the material of the second fin structure 420. Therefore, during the epitaxial CVD growth process, an epitaxial film may be grown layer by layer along the crystal orientation of the exposed surface of the first fin structure 410 in each trench of the peripheral region; in the meantime, an epitaxial film may also be grown layer by layer along the crystal orientation of the exposed surface of the second fin structure 420 in each trench of the core region. The epitaxial CVD growth process may be performed until a peripheral-region stress layer 414 with a thickness meeting a targeted value is formed in the first fin structure 410 while a core-region stress layer 424 with a thickness meeting a targeted value is formed in the second fin structure 420. The top surface of the formed peripheral-region stress layer 414 may be higher than the top surface of the first dummy gate oxide layer 411 while the top surface of the formed core-region stress layer 424 may be higher than the top surface of the second dummy gate oxide layer 421.

[0090] The process parameters used in the epitaxial CVD growth process may include a process temperature in a range of 500 °C and 950 °C, a process time in a range of 1000 s to 11000 s, a chamber pressure in a range of 5 Torr to 1000 Torr. Further, a pretreatment gas used in the epitaxial CVD growth process for forming the peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 may be hydrogen, and a reaction gas used in the epitaxial CVD growth process for forming the peripheral-region stress layer 414 and the core-region stress layer 424 may include one or more of HCl, SiH2Cl2, SiH4, etc.

[0091] Further, returning to Figure 19, a second peripheral-region sidewall spacer may be formed on the side surface of each first peripheral-region sidewall spacer in the peripheral region and a second core-region sidewall spacer may be formed on the side surface of each first core-region sidewall spacer in the core region (S807). Figure 13 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure.

[0092] Referring to Figure 13, a second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 may be formed on the side surface of each first peripheral-region sidewall spacer in the peripheral region I. In the meantime, a second core-region sidewall spacer 425 may be formed on the side surface of each first core-region sidewall spacer in the core region II.

[0093] The second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 may be made of SiOx, SiNx, SiC, SiCN, SiCON, SiON, BN, or BCN. The second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 may have a single-layer structure or a multiple-layer structure. The second core-region sidewall spacer 425 may also be made ofSiOx, SiNx, SiC, SiCN, SiCON, SiON, BN, or BCN. The second core-region sidewall spacer 425 may also have a single-layer structure or a multiple-layer structure.

[0094] In one embodiment, the second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 may have a single-layer structure and may be made of SiNx; while , the second core-region sidewall spacer 425 may also have a single-layer structure and may be made of SiNx.

[0095] Specifically, the second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 and the core-region sidewall spacer 425 may be made of a process including the following steps. First, a second sidewall film may cover the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 as well as the surface of the isolation layer 402. The portion of the second sidewall film formed on the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be removed by performing a maskless etching process. After the maskless etching process, a second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 may be formed on each sidewall surface of the first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 in the peripheral region I and a second core-region sidewall spacer 425 may be formed on each sidewall surface of the first core-region sidewall spacer 423 in the core region II.

[0096] In one embodiment, the maskless etching process may be a dry etching process. The portion of the second sidewall film formed on the top of first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the top of the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be removed by etching to form a second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 on each sidewall of the first peripheral-region sidewall spacer 413 in the peripheral region I and a second core-region sidewall spacer 425 on each side wall of the first core-region sidewall spacer 423 in the core region II. During the dry etching process, a portion of the second sidewall film formed on the surface of the isolation layer 402 may be removed.

[0097] Further, after forming the second peripheral-region sidewall spacer 415 and the second core-region sidewall spacer 425, a peripheral-region source/drain region (not shown) may be formed in the first fin structure 410 and the peripheral-region stress layer 414 on each side of the first dummy gate structure. A core-region source/drain region (not shown) may also be formed in the second fin structure 420 and the core-region stress layer 424 on each side of the second dummy gate structure.

[0098] Returning to Figure 19, further, a dielectric layer may be formed on the surface of the semiconductor base structure (S808). Figure 14 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure.

[0099] Referring to Figure 14, a dielectric layer 460 may be formed on the surface of the semiconductor base structure. The top surface of the dielectric layer 460 may be leveled with the top surfaces of the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure. That is, the top surfaces of the dielectric layer, the first dummy gate electrode layer 412, and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be leveled with each other such that the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be exposed.

[0100] In one embodiment, the dielectric layer 460 may be situated on the surface of the isolation layer 402 as well as a portion of the surface of the first fin structure 410 and a portion of the surface of the second fin structure 420. The dielectric layer 470 may also cover the peripheral-region source/drain regions (not shown) and the core-region source/drain regions (not shown) in the II. The top surfaces of the dielectric layer, the first dummy gate electrode layer 412, and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be leveled with each other.

[0101] In one embodiment, the dielectric layer 460 may have a multiple-layer structure. Specifically, the dielectric layer 460 may include a first dielectric layer 440 formed on the surface of the semiconductor base structure and a second dielectric layer 450 formed on the surface of the first dielectric layer 440.

[0102] The first dielectric layer 440 may be used as an isolation structure to separate the subsequently-formed Fin-FETs. The first dielectric layer 440 may be made of an insulating material such as SiOx, SiNx, SiON, SiOC, SiCN, SiCON, etc. In one embodiment, the first dielectric layer 440 is made of SiOx.

[0103] The second dielectric layer 450 may also be made of an insulating material such as SiOx, SiNx, SiON, SiOC, SiCN, SiCON, etc. In one embodiment, the second dielectric layer 450 is made of SiOx. The density of the second dielectric layer 450 may be larger than the density of the first dielectric layer 440. As compared to the first dielectric layer 440, the second dielectric layer 450 may demonstrate better electrical insulation property so that the subsequently-formed isolation structures may also demonstrate desired electrical insulating property.

[0104] In one embodiment, prior to forming the dielectric layer 460, an etch stop layer 430 may be formed on the surface of the semiconductor base structure. The etch stop layer 430 may also cover the surfaces of the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure.

[0105] The etch stop layer 430 may be used to indicate a process stop position for a subsequently-performed etching process in order to form contact vias. In addition, the etch stop layer 430 may also serve as a stop layer in a subsequently-performed planarization process. In one embodiment, the etch stop layer 430 is made of SiNx.

[0106] In one embodiment, the dielectric layer may be formed by a process including the following steps. First, after forming the etch stop layer 430 on the surface of the semiconductor base structure, a first dielectric film may be formed over the semiconductor base structure between neighboring fin structures. The first dielectric film may also cover the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure. The top surface of the first dielectric film may be higher than the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422. A planarization process may then be performed on the first dielectric film until the top surface of the etch stop layer 430 exposed. An etch-back process may be further performed to remove a portion of the first dielectric film, and thus form the first dielectric layer 440. A second dielectric film may then be formed on the surface of the first dielectric layer 440. The second dielectric film may also cover the surfaces of the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure. The top surface of the second dielectric film may be higher than the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422. A planarization process may then be performed on the second dielectric film until the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 are exposed. As such, the second dielectric layer 450 may be formed.

[0107] Specifically, during the planarization process performed on the second dielectric film, a portion of the etch stop layer 430 formed on the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be removed. Therefore, the top surfaces of the second dielectric layer 450, the first dummy gate electrode layer 412, and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be leveled with each other.

[0108] The openings to be filled by the first dielectric film may include a plurality of openings formed between neighboring fin structures on the substrate 400. In one embodiment, the aspect ratio of the openings to be filled by the first dielectric film may be large. In order to improve the gap-filling ability of the first dielectric film, a flowable chemical vapor deposition (FCVD) process may be adapted to form the first dielectric film. As such, the subsequently-formed first dielectric layer 440 may demonstrate desired adhesion, while the subsequently-formed first dielectric layer 440 may not be porous. In addition, in order to improve the density of the second dielectric film, in one embodiment, a high aspect ratio process (HARP) may be adapted to form the second dielectric film.

[0109] In one embodiment, a chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) process may be performed on the first dielectric film to remove the portion of the first dielectric film formed on the top surface of the etch stop layer 430. The etch-back process performed to further remove a portion of the first dielectric film may be a dry etching process, a wet etching process, or a process combining dry etching and wet etching. In addition, the portion of the second dielectric film formed above the top surfaces of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 and the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may also be removed by a CMP process.

[0110] Further, returning to Figure 19, the first dummy gate structure may be removed to expose a portion of the surface of the first fin structure and also form a first opening in the dielectric layer (S809). Figure 15 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure.

[0111] Referring to Figure 15, the first dummy gate structure may be removed. A portion of the surface of the first fin structure 410 may be exposed and a first opening 600 may be formed in the dielectric layer 460.

[0112] Specifically, the first dummy gate structure may be removed by a process including the following steps. First, a second patterned layer 520 may be formed to cover the core region II. The second patterned layer 520 may expose the surface of the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 (referring to Figure 14). A dry etching process may then be performed to remove the first dummy gate electrode layer 412 (referring to Figure 14) and then the first dummy gate oxide layer 411 may be removed by further etching the first dummy gate oxide layer 411 until a portion of the surface of the first fin structure 410 is exposed and a first opening 600 is formed in the dielectric layer 460. Finally, the second patterned layer 520 may be removed.

[0113] In one embodiment, the first dummy gate structure may be removed by a dry etching process. The etching process may demonstrate a large etch selectivity ratio on the first dummy gate structure. Specifically during the etching process, the etch rate on the first dummy gate structure may be significantly larger than the semiconductor layer 460. Therefore, the etching process may be able to effectively remove the first dummy gate structure while the dielectric layer 460 may not be consumed.

[0114] In one embodiment, the second patterned layer 520 is made of a photoresist material. After removing the first dummy gate structure, the second patterned layer 520 may be removed by a wet stripping process or by an ashing process.

[0115] In one embodiment, the process to form the first dummy gate structure and the etching process to remove the first dummy gate structure may cause damages to the first dummy gate oxide layer 411. When the first dummy gate oxide layer 411 is used as a component of the subsequently-formed first gate structure in the peripheral region I, the damaged first dummy gate oxide layer 411 may have negative influence on the quality of the formed first gate structure in the peripheral region I. Further, the damaged regions of the first dummy gate oxide layer 411 may be closed to the channel edge of the device in the peripheral region I, the electrical performance of the semiconductor device may be degraded. Therefore, in order to avoid negative influence of the damaged first dummy gate oxide layer 411 on the electrical performance of the formed semiconductor device, the first dummy gate oxide layer 411 may be removed prior to the formation of the first gate structure in the peripheral region I.

[0116] Further, returning to Figure 19, a first gate oxide layer may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure exposed in the bottom of the first opening (S810). Figure 16 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure.

[0117] Referring to Figure 16, a first gate oxide layer 470 may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure 410 situated on the bottom of the first opening 600.

[0118] In one embodiment, the first gate oxide layer 470 may be used as a component of the subsequently-formed first gate structure in the peripheral region I. The first gate oxide layer 470 may be made of SiOx.

[0119] Specifically, the first gate oxide layer 470 may be formed by an ISSG oxidation process. The process parameters used in the ISSG oxidation process may include a process gas including O2 and H2, a flow rate of O2 in a range of 1 sccm to 30 sccm, a flow rate of H2 in a range of 1.5 sccm to 15 sccm, and a chamber temperature in a range of 700 °C to 1200 °C.

[0120] In one embodiment, while forming the first oxide layer 470 on the surface of the first fin structure 410 in the first opening 600, the first gate oxide layer 470 may also be simultaneously formed on the top surface of second dummy gate electrode layer 422. The thickness of the first gate oxide layer 470 formed on the top of the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be smaller than the thickness of the first gate oxide layer 470 formed on the top of first fin structure 411. Further, in a subsequent process, the portion of the first gate oxide layer 470 formed on the top surface of the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be removed.

[0121] Further, returning to Figure 19, the second dummy gate structure may be removed to expose a portion of the surface of the second fin structure and also form a second opening in the dielectric layer (S811). Figure 17 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure.

[0122] Referring to Figure 17, after forming the first gate oxide layer 470, the second dummy gate structure may be removed to expose a portion of the surface of the second fin structure 420 and also form a second opening 610 in the dielectric layer 460.

[0123] In one embodiment, the operation power voltage of the devices in the core region II may be smaller than the operation power voltage of the devices in the peripheral region I. In order to prevent electrical breakdown, a larger thickness is required for the dielectric layer when the operation power voltage becomes larger. Thus, the thickness of the dielectric layer in the core region II may be smaller than the thickness of the dielectric layer in the peripheral region I. Therefore, in one embodiment, before forming the dielectric layer in the core region II, the second dummy gate oxide layer 421 initially formed under the removed second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may also be removed.

[0124] Specifically, the second dummy gate structure may be removed by a process including the following steps. First, a third patterned layer 530 may be formed to cover the peripheral region I. The third patterned layer 530 may expose the surface of the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 (referring to Figure 16). A dry etching process may then be performed to remove the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 (referring to Figure 16) and then the second dummy gate oxide layer 421 may be removed by further etching the second dummy gate oxide layer 421 until a portion of the surface of the second fin structure 420 is exposed and a second opening 610 is formed in the dielectric layer 460. Finally, the third patterned layer 530 may be removed.

[0125] In one embodiment, during the previous process to form the first oxide layer 470 on the surface of the first fin structure 410 in the first opening 600 (referring to Figure 16), the first gate oxide layer 470 may also be simultaneously formed on the top surface of second dummy gate electrode layer 422. Therefore, before removing the second dummy gate electrode layer 422, the portion of the first gate oxide layer 470 formed on the second dummy gate electrode layer 422 may be removed.

[0126] In one embodiment, the third patterned layer 530 is made of a photoresist material. After removing the second dummy gate structure, the third patterned layer 530 may be removed by a wet stripping process or by an ashing process.

[0127] Further, returning to Figure 19, a gate dielectric layer may be formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer, the sidewall surfaces of the first opening, and the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening, and then a metal layer may be filled into the first opening and the second opening (S812). Figure 18 shows a schematic cross-section view of a corresponding semiconductor structure.

[0128] Referring to Figure 18, a gate dielectric layer (not shown) may be formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470, the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600 (referring to Figure 16), and the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610 (referring to Figure 17). Then, a metal layer (not shown) may be filled into the first opening 600 and the second opening 610. The first gate oxide layer 470 together with the portion of the gate dielectric layer and the metal layer formed in the first opening 600 may form a first gate structure (not shown). The portion of the gate dielectric layer and the metal layer formed in the second opening 610 may form a second gate structure (not shown).

[0129] In one embodiment, after forming the gate dielectric layer on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470, the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600, and the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610, a work function layer (not shown) may be formed on the surface of the gate dielectric layer before further forming the metal layer to fill the first opening 600 and the second opening 610.

[0130] In one embodiment, when the peripheral region I and the core region II are both N-type regions, the work function layer may be made of an N-type work function material; when the peripheral region I and the core region II are both P-type regions, the work function layer may be made of a P-type work function material.

[0131] Specifically, when the peripheral region I and the core region II are both N-type regions, the N-type work function material used to form the work function layer may have a work function in a range of 3.9 eV to 4.5 eV. For example, the work function of the N-type work function material may be 4.0 eV, 4.1 eV, or 4.3 eV. The work function layer may have a single layer structure or a multiple-layer structure. The N-type work function material may include one or more of TiAl, TaAIN, TiAIN, MoN, TaCN, AlN, etc. In one embodiment, the work function material used to form the work function layer is TiAl.

[0132] When the peripheral region I and the core region II are both P-type regions, the P-type work function material used to form the work function layer may have a work function in a range of 5.1 eV to 5.5 eV. For example, the work function of the P-type work function material may be 5.2 eV, 5.3 eV, or 5.4 eV. The work function layer may have a single layer structure or a multiple-layer structure. The P-type work function material may include one or more of Ta, TiN, TaN, TaSiN, TiSiN, etc. In one embodiment, the work function material used to form the work function layer is TiN.

[0133] The metal layer may be made of Al, Cu, Ag, Au, Pt, Ni, Ti, or W. In one embodiment, the metal layer is made of W.

[0134] In one embodiment, the gate dielectric layer may be made of a high-k dielectric material. The high-k dielectric material may refer to a dielectric material with a relative dielectric constant greater than the relative dielectric constant of SiO2. The high-k dielectric material may include HfO2, HfSiO, HfSiON, HfTaO, HfTiO, HfZrO, ZrO2, Al2O3, etc.

[0135] In one embodiment, the first gate structure and the second gate structure may be formed by a process including the following steps. First, a gate dielectric layer may be formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer situated on the bottom of the first opening 600, the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600, and the bottom and sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610. The gate dielectric layer may also cover the surface of the dielectric layer 460. Further, a work function layer may be formed on the surface of the gate dielectric layer, and then a metal layer may be formed on the surface of the work function layer. The metal layer may fill up the first opening 600 and the second opening 610, and the top surface of the metal layer may be higher than the top surface of the dielectric layer 460. The portion of the metal layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 460 may then be removed by a planarization process to form a first gate electrode layer 419 on the surface of the work function layer in the peripheral region I and a second gate electrode layer 429 on the surface of the work function layer in the core region II.

[0136] Moreover, during the planarization process to remove the portion of the metal layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 460, the portion of the gate dielectric layer and the portion of the work function layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 460 may also be removed. As such, in the peripheral region I, a first gate dielectric layer 417 may be formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470 and the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600 (referring to Figure 16), and a first work function layer 418 may be formed on the surface of the first gate dielectric layer 417; while in the core region, a second gate dielectric layer 427 may be formed on the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610 (referring to Figure 17), and a second work function layer 428 may be formed on the surface of the second gate dielectric layer 427.

[0137] In one embodiment, the first gate structure may include the first gate oxide layer 470, the first gate dielectric layer 417 formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470 as well as the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600 (referring to Figure 16), the first work function layer 418 formed on the surface of the first gate dielectric layer 417, and the first gate electrode layer 419 formed on the surface of the first work function layer 418; the second gate structure may include the second gate dielectric layer 427 formed on the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610 (referring to Figure 17), the second work function layer 428 formed on the surface of the second gate dielectric layer 427, and the second gate electrode layer 429 formed on the surface of the second work function layer 428.

[0138] The first gate oxide layer 470 and the first gate dielectric layer 417 may together sever as the gate dielectric layer for the devices in the peripheral region I, and the first work function layer 418 may be used to adjust the threshold voltage of the devices in the peripheral region I. The second gate dielectric layer 427 may be used as the gate dielectric layer for the devices in the core region II, and the second work function layer 428 may be used to adjust the threshold voltage of the devices in the core region II.

[0139] Moreover, in order to improve the interface properties between the first gate structure and the first fin structure 410 and also between the second gate structure and the second fin structure 420, the fabrication process may also include the following steps prior to forming the first gate dielectric layer 417 and the second gate dielectric layer 427. First, an interface layer may be formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470 situated on the bottom of the first opening 600 (referring to Figure 16), the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600, and the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610 (referring to Figure 17). The interface layer may also cover the surface of the dielectric layer 460. Further, during the subsequently-performed planarization process to remove the portion of the metal layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 460, the portion of the interface layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 460 may also be removed to form a first interface layer 416 in the peripheral region I on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470 as well as the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600, and a second interface layer 426 in the core region II on the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610.

[0140] In one embodiment, before forming the first gate structure, the damaged first dummy gate oxide layer may be removed and then a first gate oxide layer may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure in the peripheral region. Further, the first gate oxide layer may not experience any etching process, and thus damages to the first gate oxide layer due to etching may be avoided. Therefore the film quality of the first gate oxide layer may be desired. Using such a first gate oxide layer as a part of the dielectric layer of the devices in the peripheral region may improve the quality of the first gate structure in the devices of the peripheral region, and thus the electrical performance of the subsequently-formed semiconductor device may be improved.

[0141] The present invention also provides a semiconductor structure. Figure 18 shows a schematic cross-section view of the semiconductor structure.

[0142] Referring to Figure 18, the semiconductor structure may include a semiconductor base structure. The semiconductor base structure may include a substrate 400 and a plurality of fin structures formed on the substrate 400. The substrate may include a peripheral region I and a core region II. The plurality of fin structures may be formed in both the core region and the peripheral region. For illustration purposes, the semiconductor structure is described to have a first fin structure 410 formed in the peripheral region I and a second fin structure 420 formed in the core region II. In other embodiments, the number of the fin structures formed in the peripheral region and the number of the fin structures formed in the core region may be greater than one.

[0143] Further, the semiconductor structure may also include an isolation layer 402 formed on the substrate 400 between neighboring fin structures. The isolation layer 402 may cover a portion of the sidewall surfaces of each fin structure and the top surface of the isolation layer 402 may be lower than the top surfaces of the fin structures.

[0144] Further, in the peripheral region I, the semiconductor structure may include a first gate structure (not shown) formed on a portion of the surface of the first fin structure 410. The first gate structure may include a first gate oxide layer 470 and a first gate dielectric layer 417 formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470 as well as the sidewall surfaces of a first opening 600 (referring to Figure 16), which is formed by removing a first dummy gate structure initially formed on the surface of the first fin structure 410 in the peripheral region I to occupy a space for the first gate structure. The first gate structure may also include a first work function layer 418 formed on the surface of the first gate dielectric layer 417 and a first gate electrode layer 419 formed on the surface of the first work function layer 418.

[0145] In the core region I, the semiconductor structure may include a second gate structure (not shown) formed on a portion of the surface of the second fin structure 420. The second gate structure may include a second gate dielectric layer 427 formed on the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of a second opening 610 (referring to Figure 17), which is formed by removing a second dummy gate structure initially formed on the surface of the second fin structure 420 in the core region II to occupy a space for the second gate structure. The second gate structure may also include a second work function layer 428 formed on the surface of the second gate dielectric layer 427 and a second gate electrode layer 429 formed on the surface of the second work function layer 428.

[0146] The first gate oxide layer 470 and the first gate dielectric layer 417 may together sever as the gate dielectric layer for the devices in the peripheral region I, and the first work function layer 418 may be used to adjust the threshold voltage of the devices in the peripheral region I. The second gate dielectric layer 427 may be used as the gate dielectric layer for the devices in the core region II, and the second work function layer 428 may be used to adjust the threshold voltage of the devices in the core region II.

[0147] The semiconductor structure may also include a peripheral-region source region (not shown) and a peripheral-region drain region (not shown) formed in a peripheral-region stress layer 414 situated in the first fin structure 410 on the two sides of the first gate structure, and a core-region source region (not shown) and a core-region drain region (not shown) formed in a core-region stress layer 424 situated in the second fin structure 420 on the two sides of the second gate structure.

[0148] The semiconductor structure may also include a sidewall spacer (not shown) formed on each sidewall surface of the first gate structure and the second gate structure, and an etch stop layer 430 formed on the surface of the isolation layer 402, a portion of the top and sidewall surfaces of each fin structure, and the surfaces of the sidewall spacers.

[0149] The semiconductor structure may further include a dielectric layer 460 formed on the etch stop layer 430. The top surfaces of the dielectric layer 460, the first gate electrode layer 419, and the second gate electrode layer 429 may be leveled with each other.

[0150] Moreover, in order to improve the interface properties between the first gate structure and the first fin structure 410 and also between the second gate structure and the second fin structure 420, the fabrication process for the semiconductor structure may include the following steps prior to forming the first gate dielectric layer 417 and the second gate dielectric layer 427. First, an interface layer may be formed on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470 situated on the bottom of the first opening 600 (referring to Figure 16), the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600, and the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610 (referring to Figure 17). The interface layer may also cover the surface of the dielectric layer 460. Further, during the subsequently-performed planarization process to remove the portion of the metal layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 460, the portion of the interface layer formed above the top surface of the dielectric layer 460 may also be removed to form a first interface layer 416 in the peripheral region I on the surface of the first gate oxide layer 470 as well as the sidewall surfaces of the first opening 600, and a second interface layer 426 in the core region II on the bottom and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening 610.

[0151] In one embodiment, before forming the first gate structure, the damaged first dummy gate oxide layer may be removed and then a first gate oxide layer may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure in the peripheral region. Further, the first gate oxide layer may not experience any etching process, and thus damages to the first gate oxide layer due to etching may be avoided. Therefore the film quality of the first gate oxide layer may be desired. Using such a first gate oxide layer as a part of the dielectric layer of the devices in the peripheral region may improve the quality of the first gate structure in the devices of the peripheral region, and thus the electrical performance of the subsequently-formed semiconductor device may be improved.

[0152] Compared to existing semiconductor structures and fabrication methods, the disclosed semiconductor structures and fabrication methods may demonstrates several advantages.

[0153] According to the present invention, a first dummy gate structure is formed in a peripheral region to occupy a space for a subsequently-formed first gate structure, and a second dummy gate structure is formed in a core region to occupy a space for a subsequently-formed second gate structure. In a subsequent process, after removing the first dummy gate structure, a first gate oxide layer may be formed on the surface of the first fin structure. Because the first gate oxide layer may not experience any etching process, damages to the first gate oxide layer due to etching may be avoided. Therefore, the film quality of the first gate oxide layer may be desired. Using such a first gate oxide layer as a part of the dielectric layer of the devices in the peripheral region may improve the quality of the first gate structure in the devices of the peripheral region, and thus the electrical performance of the subsequently-formed semiconductor device may be improved.

[0154] Further, during the process to remove the first dummy gate structure, the second dummy gate structure may not be simultaneously removed. The second dummy gate structure may then be removed before forming the first gate structure on the surface of the first fin structure in the peripheral region and the second gate structure on the surface of the second fin structure in the core region. Therefore, during the process to remove the first dummy gate structure, the second dummy gate structure may provide protection for the surface of the second fin structure and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening in the core region. Therefore, the surface of the second fin structure and the sidewall surfaces of the second opening may not be exposed in the process environment prior to removing the second dummy gate structure and then forming the second gate structure. As such, the subsequently-formed second gate structure may have desired quality, and thus the electrical performance of the subsequently-formed semiconductor device in the core region may be improved.


Claims

1. A method for fabricating a semiconductor structure, comprising:

forming a semiconductor base structure including a substrate and a plurality of fin structures formed on the substrate, wherein the substrate includes a peripheral region and a core region, fin structures formed in the peripheral region are first fin structures, and fin structures formed in the core region are second fin structures;

forming a first dummy gate structure on each first fin structure and a second dummy gate structure on each second fin structure;

forming a dielectric layer on the semiconductor base structure, wherein a top surface of the dielectric layer is leveled with top surfaces of the first dummy gate structures and the second dummy gate structures, wherein preferably the dielectric layer is made of one of HfO2, HfSiO, HfSiON, HfTaO, HfTiO, HfZrO, ZrO2, and Al2O3;

removing each first dummy gate structure to form a first opening in the dielectric layer, wherein a portion of the first fin structure is exposed in the first opening;

forming a first gate oxide layer on the exposed portion of each first fin structure, wherein preferably the first gate oxide layer is made of SiOx;

removing each second dummy gate structure to form a second opening in the dielectric layer, wherein a portion of the second fin structure is exposed in the second opening;

forming a gate dielectric layer to cover each first gate oxide layer, sidewall surfaces of each first opening, and bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening; and

forming a metal layer to cover the gate dielectric layer and fill up the first openings and the second openings, wherein the first gate oxide layer, the gate dielectric layer, and the metal layer formed in each first opening form a first gate structure, and the gate dielectric layer and the metal layer formed in each second opening form a second gate structure, wherein preferably the metal layer is made of one of Al, Cu, Ag, Au, Pt, Ni, Ti, and W.


 
2. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to claim 1, wherein the first gate oxide layer is formed by an in-situ steam generation (ISSG) oxidation process, and process parameters used in the ISSG oxidation process include:

a process gas including O2 and H2;

a flow rate of O2 in a range of 1 sccm to 30 sccm;

a flow rate of H2 in a range of 1.5 sccm to 15 sccm; and

a chamber temperature in a range of 700 °C to 1200 °C.


 
3. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the core region and the peripheral region are both P-type regions, or both N-type regions, and wherein:

after forming the gate dielectric layer but prior to filling the first openings and the second openings with the metal layer, a work function layer is formed on the gate dielectric layer; and

when the core region and the peripheral region are both N-type regions, the work function layer is made of an N-type work function material, wherein preferably the N-type work function layer is made of one or more of TiAl, TaAlN, TiAIN, MoN, TaCN, and AlN;

or alternatively,

when the core region and the peripheral region are both P-type regions, the work function layer is made of a P-type work function material, wherein preferably the P-type work function layer is made of one or more of Ta, TiN, TaN, TaSiN, and TiSiN.


 
4. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to any one of the claims 1-3, wherein:

the first dummy gate structure includes a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer formed on the first dummy gate oxide layer;

the second dummy gate structure includes a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer formed on the second dummy gate oxide layer; and

the first dummy gate structure and the second dummy gate structure are formed by a process including:

forming a dummy gate oxide film to cover the first fin structures and the second fin structures;

forming a dummy gate electrode film on the dummy gate oxide film;

forming a first patterned layer on the dummy gate electrode film, wherein positions, shapes, and dimensions of the first patterned layer define positions, shapes, and dimensions for subsequently-formed dummy gate electrode layers;

performing an etching process to etch the dummy gate electrode film and the dummy gate oxide film to form a first dummy gate structure on each first fin structure in the peripheral region and form a second dummy gate structure on each second fin structure in the core region, wherein the first dummy gate structure includes a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer, and the second dummy gate structure includes a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer; and

removing the first patterned layer.


 
5. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to any one of the claims 1-4, wherein each first dummy gate structure includes a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer formed on the first dummy gate oxide layer, and removing the first dummy gate structure includes:

forming a second patterned layer to cover the core region, wherein the second patterned layer exposes a top surface of the first dummy gate electrode layer;

performing a dry etching process to remove the first dummy gate electrode layer and the first dummy gate oxide layer using the second patterned layer as an etch mask until a portion of the first fin structure is exposed and a first opening is formed in the dielectric layer; and

removing the second patterned layer.


 
6. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to any one of the claims 1-5, wherein the second dummy gate structure includes a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer formed on the second dummy gate oxide layer, and removing the second dummy gate structure includes:

forming a third patterned layer to cover the peripheral region, wherein the third patterned layer exposes a top surface of the second dummy gate electrode layer;

performing a dry etching process to remove the second dummy gate electrode layer and then the second dummy gate oxide layer using the third patterned layer as an etch mask until a portion of the second fin structure is exposed and a second opening is formed in the dielectric layer; and

removing the third patterned layer.


 
7. The method for fabricating a semiconductor structure according to claim 3, wherein the first gate structure and the second gate structure are formed by a process including:

forming the gate dielectric layer on the first gate oxide layer in each first opening, sidewall surfaces of each first opening, and bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening, wherein the gate dielectric layer also covers the top surface of the dielectric layer;

forming a work function layer on the gate dielectric layer;

forming a metal layer on the work function layer to fill up the first openings and the second openings, wherein a top surface of the metal layer is higher than the top surface of the dielectric layer;

removing a portion of the metal layer formed above the dielectric layer to form a first gate electrode layer on the work function layer in each first opening in the peripheral region and a second gate electrode layer on the work function layer in each second opening in the core region; and

removing a portion of the gate dielectric layer and the work function layer formed above the dielectric layer to form a first gate dielectric layer on each first gate oxide layer as well as sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening in the peripheral region, a first work function layer on each first gate dielectric layer, a second gate dielectric layer on bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening in the core region, and a second work function layer on each second gate dielectric layer, wherein,

the first gate oxide layer, the first gate dielectric layer, the first work function layer, and the first gate electrode layer in each first opening together form a first gate structure; and

the second gate dielectric layer, the second work function layer, and the second gate electrode layer together form a second gate structure.


 
8. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to claim 7, wherein:

after removing the second dummy gate structures and prior to forming the gate dielectric layer, an interface layer is formed on the first gate oxide layer in each first opening, sidewall surfaces of each first opening, and bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening, wherein the interface layer also covers the top surface of the dielectric layer; and

in the course of removing the portion of the metal layer, the work function layer, and the gate dielectric layer formed above the dielectric layer, a portion of the interface layer formed above the dielectric layer is also removed to form a first interface layer on each first gate oxide layer as well as sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening in the peripheral region, and a second interface layer on bottom and sidewall surfaces of each second opening in the core region.


 
9. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to any one of the claims 1-8, wherein:

the first dummy gate structure includes a first dummy gate oxide layer and a first dummy gate electrode layer formed on the first dummy gate oxide layer;

the second dummy gate structure includes a second dummy gate oxide layer and a second dummy gate electrode layer formed on the second dummy gate oxide layer;

the first dummy gate electrode layer is made of one of polycrystalline silicon, SiOx, SiNx, SiON, SiCN, SiCON, and amorphous silicon; and

the second dummy gate electrode layer is made of one of polycrystalline silicon, SiOx, SiNx, SiON, SiCN, SiCON, and amorphous silicon.


 
10. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to any one of the claims 1-9, wherein after forming the first dummy gate structure on each first fin structure and the second dummy structure on each second fin structure and prior to forming the dielectric layer on the semiconductor base structure, further including:

forming a first peripheral-region sidewall spacer on each sidewall surface of the first dummy fin structure and a first core-region sidewall spacer on each sidewall surface of the second dummy fin structure;

forming a peripheral-region stress layer in the first fin structure on each side of the first dummy gate structure and a core-region stress layer in the second fin structure on each side of the second dummy gate structure;

forming a second peripheral-region sidewall spacer on a sidewall surface of each first peripheral-region sidewall spacer and a second core-region sidewall spacer on a sidewall surface of each first core-region sidewall spacer; and

forming a peripheral-region source region and a peripheral-region drain region in the first fin structure and the peripheral-region stress layer on each side of the first dummy gate structure and a core-region source region and a core-region drain region in the second fin structure and the core-region stress layer on each side of the second dummy gate structure.


 
11. The method for fabricating the semiconductor structure according to claim 10, wherein:

the peripheral-region stress layer is made of silicon;

the peripheral-region stress layer is formed by an epitaxial chemical vapor deposition growth process;

the core-region stress layer is made of silicon; and

the core-region stress layer is formed by an epitaxial chemical vapor deposition growth process;

wherein preferably process parameters used in the epitaxial chemical vapor deposition growth process include: a process temperature in a range of 500 °C to 950 °C; a process time in a range of 1000 s to 11000 s; a chamber pressure in a range of 5 Torr to 1000 Torr; a pretreatment gas of H2; and a reaction gas including one or more of HCl, SiH2Cl2, and SiH4..


 
12. A semiconductor structure, comprising:

a semiconductor base structure including a substrate and a plurality of fin structures formed on the substrate, wherein the substrate includes a peripheral region and a core region, fin structures formed in the peripheral region are first fin structures, and fin structures formed in the core region are second fin structures;

a first gate structure formed on a portion of each first fin structure in the peripheral region and a second gate structure formed on a portion of each second fin structure in the core region; and

a dielectric layer formed on the semiconductor base structure, wherein a top surface of the dielectric layer is leveled with top surfaces of the first gate structures and the second gate structures, wherein:

each first gate structure is formed on the portion of the first fin structure in the peripheral region after removing a first dummy gate structure initially formed on the first fin structure to form a first opening in the dielectric layer and expose the portion of the first fin structure;

each second gate structure is formed on the portion of the second fin structure in the core region after removing a second dummy gate structure initially formed on the second fin structure to form a second opening in the dielectric layer and expose the portion of the second fin structure;

each first gate structure in the peripheral region includes a first gate oxide layer formed on the first fin structure, a gate dielectric layer formed on the first gate oxide layer and sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening, and a first gate electrode layer formed on the first gate dielectric layer; and

each second gate structure in the core region includes a second gate dielectric layer formed on the second fin structure and sidewall surfaces of the corresponding second opening, and a second gate electrode layer formed on the second gate dielectric layer.


 
13. The semiconductor structure according to claim 12, wherein:

the first gate structure also includes a first interface layer formed on the first gate oxide layer and sidewall surfaces of the corresponding first opening;

the first gate dielectric layer is formed on the first interface layer;

the second gate structure also includes a second interface layer formed on the exposed portion of the second fin structure in the second opening and also on sidewall surfaces of the corresponding second opening; and

the second gate dielectric layer is formed on the second interface layer.


 
14. The semiconductor structure according to claim 12 or 13, wherein:

the first gate structure also includes a first work function layer formed between the first gate dielectric layer and the first gate electrode layer; and

the second gate structure also includes a second work function layer formed between the second gate dielectric layer and the second gate electrode layer.


 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description