Robert D. Huttemann - Macungie PA
AT&T Bell Laboratories - Murray Hill NJ
A metallization scheme useful for integrated circuits uses a buffer layer to ensure that the etch back of a contact metal, such as tungsten, deposited over the buffer layer, can be controlled to form a complete tungsten plug in a via while the tungsten on the dielectric is completely removed. The buffer layer, once exposed, reacts with the plasma etch to form non-volatile compounds which decrease the free surface mobility of the etching species. This active species depletion thus decreases the etch rate of the tungsten within the vias. Continued exposure of unreacted buffer material is ensured by performing a sputter cleaning simultaneously with the plasma etch.