substrate cleaning, strippable coating, silicon cleaning, UV/ozone cleaning


The extreme ultraviolet (EUV) is becoming increasingly important. Principal applications include orbital space-based astronomy and lithography for integrated circuit computer chips. A main impediment to further development of efficient mirrors is the lack of reliable optical constants for various materials in this region of the electromagnetic spectrum. One reason for the unreliability of the optical constants is that the sample surfaces are often contaminated with foreign material, especially organic compounds, when exposed to laboratory air. Several cleaning techniques were evaluated, namely: 1) strippable solid optical cleaner (Opticlean®); 2) oxygen plasma etch; 3) high energy UV light/ozone; 4) strippable coating followed by oxygen plasma etch, 5) strippable coating followed by high intensity UV light and, 6) exposure to cold pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2 snow). These processes are compared experimentally based on effectiveness, cleaning time and ease of use. DADMAC (polydiallyldimethyl-ammonium chloride), which forms a layer of known, uniform thickness on silicon wafers is used as a "stand in" for organic contamination. Effectiveness is judged on how well the surface is cleaned. Ellipsometry is used to determine the thicknesses of surface layers. XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) is used to look for trace contaminants, particularly carbon from the DADMAC. We find that the strippable cleaning coat leaves a residue. Oxygen plasma rapidly removes contaminants, but can quickly oxidize the silicon surface. Exposure to the UV light/ozone for five minutes leaves the surface clean with little additional oxidation. Oxygen plasma or UV light effectively removes the strippable coat residue. Exposure to cold pressurized carbon dioxide has reduced oxide level in one case. The recommended procedure for cleaning bare silicon wafers is strippable coat application followed by 2.5 minutes of exposure to high intensity UV light.

Original Publication Citation

R.E. Robinson, R.L. Sandberg, D.D. Allred, A.L. Jackson, J.E. Johnson, W. Evans, T. Doughty, A.E. Baker, K. Adamson, and A. Jacquier, "Removing Surface Contaminants from Silicon Wafers to Facilitate EUV Optical Characterization," 47th Annual Technical Conference Proceedings of the Society of Vacuum Coaters, Dallas TX, (Society of Vacuum Coaters, Albuquerque, NM, 24) 47, 368-376. [].

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC)




Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Physics and Astronomy