2022 年 35 巻 4 号 p. 371-374
Microwave-excited water plasma asher (WPA) is our laboratory's new technology for the photoresist (PR) ashing process in semiconductor manufacturing which uses water vapor as process gas. It has the potential to solve many problems of conventional PR ashing technologies including high temperature, oxidation of metal structure, low ashing rate for ion-implanted PR, and high costs of chemicals. In this study, the pressure dependence of various aspects of plasma in water plasma asher, including light emission area, emission intensity, and substrate temperature was investigated. The ashing rate of the novolak PR film on the silicon wafer at the various condition of process pressure was also investigated. Average emission intensity and emission area of plasma significantly increased as process pressure in the chamber were decreased, and they were the highest when the process pressure was 0.3 kPa. The average ashing rate of PR film was only 0.42 μm/min when process pressure was 2.14 kPa, and it gradually increased as process pressure was decreased. It is also found that the ashing rate was improved after reducing the temperature of the water. The ashing rate when using air-rich condition of plasma was observed to be higher than when only water vapor is used as process gas.