(19)
(11)EP 3 644 350 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
29.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/18

(21)Application number: 18202739.1

(22)Date of filing:  26.10.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01L 21/822(2006.01)
H01L 27/06(2006.01)
H01L 21/8234(2006.01)
H01L 29/06(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:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: IMEC vzw
3001 Leuven (BE)

(72)Inventors:
  • BOEMMELS, Juergen
    3001 Leuven (BE)
  • RYCKAERT, Julien
    3001 Leuven (BE)

(74)Representative: AWA Sweden AB 
P.O. Box 5117
200 71 Malmö
200 71 Malmö (SE)

  


(54)METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING 3D SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE


(57) A method for forming a plurality of transistors structures arranged in a 3D structure is disclosed. The method comprises providing a vertical stack (110) of alternating layers of a channel material (112) and a dummy material (114), forming a first set of fins (121, 122, 123) on the stack, and forming a second fin (131) above the first set of fins, the second fin extending orthogonal to the first set of fins. Further, the first set of fins is cut into a set of fin portions (121a; 122a; 123a), using the second fin as an etch mask, and sidewall spacers (141, 142) are formed on the second fin. These structures are used to form a 3D structure of channel regions (151a, 151b, 151c) and source/drain regions (S, D) forming transistor structures.




Description

Technical field



[0001] The present inventive concept relates to the field of semiconductor devices. In particular, it relates to methods of manufacturing a 3D semiconductor device.

Background



[0002] More highly integrated semiconductor devices are required to satisfy consumer demands for electronic products that offer superior performance and yet are relatively inexpensive. In the case of a typical two-dimensional or planar semiconductor device, the integration (density) of the device mainly corresponds to the are occupied by a unit cell of the device. For smaller device, this may be a problem, and may result in an unsatisfying integration. To overcome such a drawback, three-dimensional (3D) semiconductor devices having vertically (3D) arranged cells have recently been proposed.

[0003] The scaling of vertical 3D semiconductor devices is mainly based on the increase of the number of layers of cells in order to provide a high density and a low footprint. However, in fabrication of 3D semiconductor devices, various problems may occur due to the structural configuration of the devices. Consequently, one disadvantage of 3D semiconductor devices compared with planar (2D) semiconductor is that the manufacturing cost often is higher. A simpler manufacturing process for 3D semiconductor devices would thus be advantageous.

Summary



[0004] An objective of the present inventive concept is to achieve a simplified manufacturing process of 3D semiconductor devices.

[0005] According to an aspect of the present inventive concept, there is provided a method for forming a plurality of transistor structures, arranged in a 3D structure, by means of an etch mask formed by a first set of fins and a second set of fins with sidewall spacers. More specifically, the method comprises:

providing a vertical stack of alternating layers of a channel material and a dummy material;

forming a first set of fins on the stack;

forming a second fin and sidewall spacers above the first set of fins, the second fin and sidewall spacers extending orthogonal to the first set of fins;

cutting the first set of fins into a set of fin portions, using the second fin and sidewall spacers as an etch mask;

forming a column of the stack of alternating layers by using the second fin and sidewall spacers as an etch mask;

etching through the stack of alternating layers by using the set of fin portions, the sacrificial material, the second fin and the sidewall spacers as an etch mask;

wherein each fin portion define a vertical set of channel regions in the column, and wherein the sidewall spacers define the source/drain regions associated with each channel region; and

removing the dummy material between the channel regions of each vertical set of channel regions, thereby forming wires suspended between their respective source/drain regions.



[0006] The proposed integration scheme utilises a process in which the pattern formed by the first set of fins, which are cut into a set of fin portions, is memorised in the mask layer formed by the second set of fins and their associated sidewall spacers. In this way a mask structure can be provided from the initially formed sets of fins, and used to pattern different features throughout the processing of the 3D structure. This allows for a 3D semiconductor structure to be formed with a relatively low number of mask layers per transistor, particularly compared to prior art techniques in which each layer is pattern with its own mask.

[0007] The inventive concept further allows for the transistor structures to be accessed and processed from two different directions - a first direction during the forming of the column by means of the second fins and sidewall spacers, and a second direction when the stack is etched through by using the set of fin portions from the first set of fins. Hence, the initially formed mask structure of the set of fin portions, the second fin and the sidewall spacers can be used to access and process the channel region and source/drain regions of the transistor structures both from the length direction of the channel region and the lateral width direction of the channel region.

[0008] As used herein, a "layer" refers to a material portion including a region having a thickness. A layer may extend over the entirety of an underlying or overlying structure, or may have an extent less than the extent of an underlying or overlying structure. Further, a layer may be a region of a homogeneous or inhomogeneous continuous structure that has a thickness less than the thickness of the continuous structure. For example, a layer may be located between any pair of horizontal planes between, or at, a top surface and a bottom surface of the continuous structure. A layer may extend horizontally, vertically, and/or along a tapered surface. A substrate may be a layer, may include one or more layers therein, and/or may have one or more layer thereupon, thereabove, and/or therebelow.

[0009] By the term "vertical stack" should be understood a structure comprising at least two layers arranged on top of each other, as seen in a vertical direction relative an underlying semiconductor substrate. The stack may be arranged such that every second layer is formed of the channel material and interleaved with the dummy material. The dummy material layers may be considered as a placeholder or sacrificial layers, since they are intended to be removed during the manufacturing process.

[0010] Generally, the term "fin" refers to a feature having a top surface and two opposing sidewalls that protrude from the underlying material. The fin may be formed by means of multi patterning schemes such as self-aligned double patterning (SADP) or self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP). The fins may further be provided with sidewall spacers, which may be understood as a spacer material that is deposited on or at one or both of the sidewalls of the fin.

[0011] By the term "wire" is meant a structure that during the manufacturing process is released from the surrounding material supporting the structure in the vertical directions, and that can be employed as a channel in the finished transistor structure. Depending on the selected manufacturing process, the wire can have a length direction along a direction of the current flow in the channel of the transistor, and a cross section across the same for example being circular, oval or polygonal.

[0012] According to an embodiment, the second fin may form part of a second set of fins, each of which having sidewall spacers. The second set of fins and the sidewall spacers may be used as an etch mask for forming a plurality of columns. Thus, it is appreciated that the method according to the present inventive concept is not limited to the formation of a single column, but can easily be employed for the manufacturing of 3D devices having a plurality of columns, wherein each column comprises a plurality of vertical sets of transistor structures. The number of columns may be defined by the number of fins of the second type, whereas the number of vertical sets of transistor structures of each column may be determined by the number of fins of the first type, extending orthogonal to the second fins.

[0013] According to an embodiment, the step of forming the first set of fins may further include forming sidewall spacers on each one of the fins of the first set of fins. The forming of the sidewall spacers may be followed by filling a space between the fins and sidewall spacers with a sacrificial material. The resulting structure, i.e., the first set of fins, the sidewall spacers and the sacrificial material may then be planarised prior to forming of the second fin. Consequently, the second fin (or second set of fins) may be formed directly on the first set of fins, such that the upper surface of the fins of the first set of fins shares an interface with a bottom surface of the second fin. Alternatively, an additional material or layer may be arranged between the first set of fins and the second fin, such that the second fin is formed above, rather than directly on the first set of fins.

[0014] According to an embodiment, the forming of the column may be followed by a process in which lateral recesses are formed in the dummy material of the vertical stack and provided with a dielectric material. The recessing may be performed by etching the dummy layer laterally, with selectivity to the channel material, and preferably to a depth that is slightly less than the width of the sidewall spacers to allow the material of the dummy layer to be replaced by a dielectric material forming a permanent isolator. This is of particular relevance when using dummy materials that are not isolators, such as SiGe which is known to be a semiconductor material and thus less suitable for isolating purposes. The dielectric material may for example be an oxide, such as silicon dioxide, deposited in a selective deposition process. Alternatively, the dielectric may be provided by means of conformal deposition followed by an anisotropic etch that is selective to the sidewall spacer. The dielectric may provide an isolation between the different channels of the transistor devices, and may advantageously present a low leakage current and preferably a low capacitance.

[0015] According to an embodiment, the step of etching through the stack of alternating layers to define the vertical set of channel regions may be followed by a process in which lateral recesses are formed in the channel material. The depth of the recesses may correspond to the width of the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins, and the etch process may be an isotropic etch also recessing the channel material under the sidewall spacers of the second fin. Preferably, the etch process may be uniform between the dummy material and the channel material, and selective to the dielectric material previously provided in the dummy material. The recesses in the channel material may define the isolation distance between the source/drain contacts and the gate contact in the resulting transistor.

[0016] In a subsequent step, an isolating spacer material may be formed in the recesses in the channel material. This may be followed by an etch process for selectively removing the isolating spacer material from the channel material, leaving the spacer material in the recesses formed at the source/drain regions under the sidewall spacers of the second fin. Preferably, the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins and the isolating spacer may be formed of the same material, which allows them to be removed in the same etch process. The isolating spacer material may be selected based on its dielectric properties, such as dielectric constant k and breakdown voltage, in order to achieve a preferred isolation between the source/drain regions and the gate stack material (which may be deposited on the channel regions and the isolating spacer material in subsequent processing steps).

[0017] According to an embodiment, the material of the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins may be etch selective with respect to the material of the sidewall spacers of the second fin. This allows for the sidewall spacers to be selectively used as an etch mask for different steps in the manufacturing of the 3D structure without the need of any additional, protective masks.

[0018] According to an embodiment, the method may further comprise a process for forming a gate stack. The gate stack may be arranged to surround or enclose the released wire forming the channel region of the final transistor structure. The stack may for example be formed of a high-dielectric material combined with one or several metal layers.

[0019] According to some embodiments, the channel material may be formed of Si and the dummy material of SiGe. Further, the first set of fins may be formed of SiN, the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins may be formed of SiCO, and the sacrificial material between the first set of fins and sidewall spacers of SiO2. Preferably, the selected materials are etch selective relative each other. Examples of etch selective dielectrics include SiN/SiCO/SiO.

Brief description of the drawings



[0020] The above, as well as additional objects, features and advantages of the present inventive concept, will be better understood through the following illustrative and non-limiting detailed description, with reference to the appended drawings. In the drawings like reference numerals will be used for like elements unless stated otherwise. As illustrated in the figures, the sizes of layers and regions are exaggerated for illustrative purposes and, thus, are provided to illustrate the general structures of embodiments of the present invention.

[0021] Figs. 1-20 each show, in cross section, different parts of a method of manufacturing a three-dimensional, 3D, semiconductor device according to embodiments of the inventive concept.

Detailed description



[0022] Embodiment of a manufacturing process of a 3D semiconductor device will now be described using figures 1-20.

[0023] Figure 1 illustrates a first part of a method of manufacturing a plurality of transistors structures arranged in a 3D structure according to an embodiment of the present inventive concept. In figure 1, a vertical stack 110 of alternating layers of a channel material 112 and a dummy material 114 is provided. Preferably, the channel material 112 and the dummy material 114 are chosen such that a certain etch selectivity can be achieved in the etching processes used for forming the 3D structure. In one example, the channel material 112 may be Si and the dummy material 114 SiGe.

[0024] A hardmask material 115 may be arranged on top of the stack 110. The hardmask material 115 may for example be SiN. As illustrated in figure 2, the hardmask material 115 may be patterned into a first set of fins 121, 122, 123. This may for example be done using a multi-patterning scheme such as a self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP). In the present example, three parallel fins 121, 122, 123 are formed of the hardmask material. The width of each fins may for example lie in the range of 5 to 10 nm, and the pitch (or separating distance) in the range of 20 to 50 nm.

[0025] Optionally, sidewall spacers 124 may be formed at the lateral sides of the resulting fin structures 121, 122, 123 as illustrated in figure 3. The sidewall spacers 124 may be employed later in the processing to forming a temporary offset when forming the spacer structures that isolate the gate contacts from the source/drain contacts. The spacers 124 may for example be formed of SiCO.

[0026] In a subsequent processing step, the space between the sidewall spacers 124 may be filled with a sacrificial material 125, such as SiO2, and planarised. The resulting structure is shown in figure 4, in which the first set of fins 121, 122, 123 and the associated sidewall spacers 125 are embedded in a planarised layer of SiO2 125.

[0027] Further, a second fin may be formed on or above the first set of fins 121, 122, 123. In figure 5, a pair of fins forming a second set of fins 131, 132 have been provided in an orthogonal direction relative the first set of fins 121, 122, 123 and used as an etch mask to cut the first set of fins 121, 122, 123 into a set of fin portions 121a, 122a, 123a; 121b, 122b, 122b. The width of the second fin 131, 132 may define the final gate length of the resulting transistor structure, and may for example lie in the range of 10 to 30 nm. The pitch, or separation between adjacent fins may define the space for contacts on both sides of the channel region, and may in some examples lie in the range of 50 and 200 nm. The second fin 131, 132 may be formed by means of a multi-patterning process, such as SAQP. The resulting structure can be considered to form a fin-shaped hardmask in which the set of fin portions 121a, 122a, 123a; 121b, 122b, 122b, which is formed of the first set of fins 121, 122, 123, has been memorized into the second set of fins 131, 132.

[0028] The second set of fins 131, 132 may be provided with sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144 as shown in figure 6. The sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144 may be formed so as to define the contact regions of the final transistor structures, and may be used for forming a column of the stack. In the present embodiment, as illustrated in figure 7, the sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144 and the second set of fins 131, 132 may be used as an etch mask for etching through the stack 110 to form a first column 151 and a second column 152 of the alternating layers of the channel material 112 and the dummy material 114. The distance between the columns 151, 152 in figure 7 is determined by the width and separation of the second set of fins 131, 132, and by the thickness of the sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144. By etching through the stack 110, two individual sets of devices can be formed.

[0029] Figure 8 illustrates the two columns 151, 152 after recessing of the dummy layer 114. The recessing may be performed by lateral recessing of the sides of the columns 151, 152, resulting in cavities or recesses 116 which may have a depth that is slightly smaller than the actual width of the sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144.

[0030] The recesses 116 may be filled with a dielectric material 117, such as SiO2, as shown in figure 9. The filling may for example be performed by means of selective deposition or conformal deposition followed by an anisotropic etch that is selective to the material of the sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144.

[0031] In figure 10, a sacrificial material 160, such as SiN, has been formed on the sides of the columns 151, 152 and in the gap in between. Further, the mask formed by the second set of fins 131, 132 and the sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144 has been removed such that the underlying mask formed by the set of fin portions 121a, 121b; 122a, 122b; 123a, 123b of the first set of fins 121, 122, 123, and the associated spacers 124, is exposed.

[0032] In figure 11, this exposed mask has been used for etching through the stack 110 to define the channel regions of the final transistor structures. The channel regions are stacked above each other in vertical sets - in the present example three sets 151a, 151b, 151c in the first column 151 and three sets 152a, 152b, 152c in the second column 152.

[0033] The channel material 112 may be recessed in an isotropic etch process that is selective to the dummy material 114. Preferably, the channel material is recessed by the width of the sidewall spacers 124 to form an isolation distance between the source/drain contacts and the gate of the resulting transistor structure. The recessed structure is illustrated in figure 12.

[0034] Figure 13 discloses the 3D structure after formation of an isolating spacer material 118. The spacer material may be provided uniformly in the trenches defining the vertical sets of channel regions, and then removed from the channel material (but not from the source/drain regions). The selective removal of the spacer material 118 from the channel regions may for example be achieved by means of an anisotropic etch process in which the sidewall spacers 124 of the first set of fins 121, 122, 123 are removed, but not the sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144 of the second set of fins 131, 132. Preferably, the isolating spacer material 118 may be of the same type as the material of the sidewall spacers 124 of the first set of fins 131, 132 so as to facilitate the etching of both. Thus, the sidewall spacers 141, 142, 143, 144 of the second set of fins 131, 132 may, due to the anisotropic character of the etch process, protect the underlying isolating spacer material 118 on the source/drain regions from being removed.

[0035] The remaining parts of the dummy layer 114 between the channel regions 151a, 151b, 151c; 152a, 152b, 152c may be removed in wire release step so as to form the released channel regions 170 shown in figure 14.

[0036] This 3D structure may then be filled with a gate stack 180, which for example may comprise a high-k material and a metal material, enclosing the released wires 170. Figure 15 is a perspective view similar to the one of figure 14, but with a vertical cross section taken along the line A-A' in figure 14, i.e., along the channel regions 151a, 152a. As shown in the present figure, each one of the channel regions 151a, 152a extends in a lateral direction of the first and second columns 151, 152 and is stacked above the other channel regions in each set of vertically stacked regions. The section is taken in the plane intersecting the vertical stack and the lateral extension of the channel regions, thereby exposing the enclosing nature arrangement of the gate stacks 170.

[0037] Figure 16 is another perspective view similar to the ones in figures 14 and 15, but with a vertical cross section taken across the channel region stacks 152a, 152b, 152c of the second column 152, i.e., along the line B-B' in figure 14. This cross section shows the gate stacks 180 enclosing the channel regions 170, in this case forming released wires. Figure 16 shows the 3D structure after the gate contacts 180 have been separated between the vertical sets of channel regions 152a, 152b, 152c and recessed at the top. This may be achieved by etching separating trench structures 182 between the vertical sets.

[0038] Figure 17 illustrates the 3D structure of figure 16 after the trench structures 182 have been filled with an isolating material 184, such as SiO2. The filling may be followed by a CMP process to achieve a planar top surface of the 3D structure.

[0039] Figure 18 illustrates a similar view of the 3D structure as in figure 15, i.e., a perspective view with a vertical cross section taken along the channel regions 170. Thus, a trench or gap is formed between the first column 151 and the second column 152.

[0040] This gap can be used for accessing the channel region from the lateral side, in the current direction of the channel of the resulting transistor structure. Thus, source regions S and drain regions D may be formed between the dielectric material 117 of the stack, at the end portion of the channel regions or wires 170. The source/drain regions S, D may be for example be formed by plasma implantation or by recessing the channel material 112 and performing an in-situ doped regrowth.

[0041] Finally, figure 20 illustrates a step in which the to form the actual transistors. In this process, the source/drain regions S/D are contacted by a metal layer 190, which for example may be formed selective deposition or conformal filling followed by an anisotropic selective etch-back process.

[0042] The resulting 3D structure, as provided by the present exemplary method, comprises a plurality of transistors arranged in two independent separately addressable columns 151, 152, each of which having three vertical sets of transistors 151a, 151b, 151c; 152a, 152b, 152c. In the present example, transistors arranged in the same vertical set share the gate stacks 180, such that they all can be addressed at the same time via the gate stack 180. Further, all transistors that are arranged on the same vertical level within a column share the same source/drain contacts, such that they all can be addressed at the same time via the source/drain contact 190. In this way, a 3D structure can be provided which allows for each one of the transistors to be individually addressed by selecting the correct intersection between gate and source/drain contacts.

[0043] Although reference herein may be made to "drain region" / "source region", and "drain contact" / "source contact" of a transistor it should be noted that the actual function of the region/contact may depend on the direction of the current flowing through the transistor. Hence, "drain" and "source" should be construed broadly as mere labels for the two different regions/contacts of a transistor. Hence, reference to a "drain" region of a transistor may be interpreted as reference to a "first source/drain" region of the transistor and reference to a "source" region of the transistor may be interpreted as a reference to a "second source/drain region" of the transistor, and correspondingly for "source" contact and "drain" contact.

[0044] In the above method in accordance with the inventive concept has mainly been described with reference to a limited number of examples. However, as is readily appreciated by a person skilled in the art, other examples than the ones disclosed above are equally possible within the scope of the inventive concept, as defined by the appended claims. For instance, the above process steps have been recited in a particular order. However, it should be noted that other process sequences are possible without departing from the scope of the claims.


Claims

1. A method for forming a plurality of transistors structures arranged in a 3D structure, wherein each transistor comprises a source region, a drain region and a channel region, the method comprising:

providing a vertical stack (110) of alternating layers of a channel material (112) and a dummy material (114);

forming a first set of fins (121, 122, 123) on the stack;

forming a second fin (131) above the first set of fins, the second fin extending orthogonal to the first set of fins;

cutting the first set of fins into a set of fin portions (121a, 121b; 122a, 122b; 123a, 123b), using the second fin and sidewall spacers as an etch mask;

forming sidewall spacers (141, 142) on the second fin;

forming a column (151) of the stack of alternating layers by using the second fin and sidewall spacers as an etch mask;

etching through the stack of alternating layers by using the set of fin portions, the sacrificial material, the second fin and the sidewall spacers as an etch mask;

wherein each fin portion define a vertical set of channel regions (151a, 151b, 151c) in the column, and wherein the sidewall spacers define the source/drain regions (S, D) associated with each channel region;

removing the dummy material between the channel regions of each vertical set of channel regions, thereby forming wires (170) suspended between their respective source/drain regions.


 
2. The method according to claim 1, wherein:

the second fin forms part of a second set of fins (131, 132), each of which having sidewall spacers (141, 142, 143, 144); and

the second set of fins and sidewall spacers are used as an etch mask for forming a plurality of columns 151, 152).


 
3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the step of forming the first set of fins further includes:

forming sidewall spacers (124) on each one of the fins of the first set of fins;

filling a space between the fins and sidewall spacers of the first set of fins with a sacrificial material (125);

planarising the first set of fins, sidewall spacers and sacrificial material prior to forming of the second fin.


 
4. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the step of forming the column is followed by:

forming lateral recesses (116) in the dummy material of the vertical stack;

forming a dielectric material (117) in said recesses.


 
5. The method according to claim 3, wherein the step of etching through the stack of alternating layers to define the vertical set of channel regions is followed by:

forming lateral recesses in the channel material;

forming an isolating spacer material (118) in said recesses; and

removing the isolating spacer material from the channel regions, using the sidewall spacers of the second fin as an etch mask.


 
6. The method according to claim 5, wherein the channel material is recessed by a depth corresponding to
the width of the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins.
 
7. The method according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the isolating spacer material is the same as the material of the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins.
 
8. The method according to claim 2, wherein the material of the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins is etch selective with respect to the material of the sidewall spacers of the second fin.
 
9. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising:

forming a gate stack (180) around the wires.


 
10. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the channel material is formed of Si and wherein the dummy material is formed of SiGe.
 
11. The method according to claim 3, wherein:

the first set of fins is formed of SiN;

the sidewall spacers of the first set of fins are formed of SiCO; and

the sacrificial material between the first set of fins and sidewall spacers is formed of SiO2.


 




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