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Customization of Chemical Mechanical Polishing Pads: Nanotechnology in Action

P.K. Roy, J.Y. Jendricks and M. Deopura
Neopad Technologies Corporation, US

chemical mechanical planarization, back end, IC processing

Neopad is a start-up company which has utilized nano science and nano engineering to develop the next generation polymeric pads used during Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) in today’s silicon IC manufacturing. Neopad has developed pads which have significant commercial and technological impact in sub-100 nm silicon ICs, large area display, disk drive and micromachine (MEMs) industries. Neopad achieves this by utilizing nano engineering to manipulate nano tribological properties that control nano, micro and spatially grading to achieve significant planarization performance on ICs. Neopad’s technology demonstrates substantial improvement in pad performance (significant increase in die yields), pad life (2.5x) with a dramatic reduction in the Bill of Materials (BOM). Such lowering of BOM is a result of a series of ‘skip-theory’ solutions such as in-situ grooving for slurry transport and local area transparency formation during pad fabrication for the end point detection. Utilizing nano engineering, Neopad has also developed solid lubricant embedded pads for copper CMP utilized in reducing COF and shear stress dramatically and thus rendering costly and unnecessary migration to other copper technologies such ECMP and ECD. Neopad’s spatially graded pads lower shear force through stress accommodation and being utilized in planarizing porous low-k materials, vertical gates (FinFET) and SOI structures for sub-65 nm technologies. All these novel inventions have resulted in a quantum leap in CMP and will extend the life of CMP technology through the current technology roadmap of Moore’s Law. Commercial impact of Neopad is already reflected by the direct investments and joint collaboration from world’s largest and premier Fabs, product revenue generating production use in IC fabrication, cash-flow positive earnings accomplished with just one round of venture funding.

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