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Monitoring Critical Process Steps In 3D NAND Using Picosecond Ultrasonic Metrology With Both Thickness And Sound Velocity Capabilities

Applications of picosecond ultrasonics in 3D NAND show potential for monitoring the process and gleaning device performance insights.

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Amorphous carbon (a-C) based hard masks provide superior etch selectivity, chemical inertness, are mechanically strong, and have been used for etching deep, high aspect ratio features that conventional photoresists cannot withstand. Picosecond Ultrasonic Technology (PULSE Technology) has been widely used in thin metal film metrology because of its unique advantages, such as being a rapid, non-contact, non-destructive technology and its capabilities for simultaneous multiple layer measurement. Simultaneous measurement of velocity and thickness for transparent and semi-transparent films offers a lot of potential for not only monitoring the process but offers insight into the device performance. In this paper, we show successful applications of picosecond ultrasonics in 3D NAND. This includes measurement of various thin metal films and simultaneous measurement of sound velocity and thickness for amorphous carbon films which has been widely used as hard mask materials.

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