Saturation Profile Based Conformality Analysis for Atomic Layer Deposition: Aluminum Oxide in Lateral High-Aspect-Ratio Channels

ABSTRACT: Atomic layer deposition (ALD) raises global interest through its unparalleled conformality. This work describes new microscopic lateral high-aspect-ratio (LHAR) test structures for conformality analysis of ALD. The LHAR structures are made of silicon and consist of rectangular channels supported by pillars. Extreme aspect ratios even beyond 10 000:1 enable investigations where the adsorption front does not penetrate to the end of the channel, thus exposing the saturation profile for detailed analysis. We use the archetypical trimethylaluminum (TMA)-water ALD process to grow alumina as a test vehicle to demonstrate the applicability, repeatability and reproducibility of the saturation profile measurement and to provide a benchmark for future saturation profile studies. Through varying the TMA reaction and purge times, we obtained new information on the surface chemistry characteristics and the chemisorption kinetics of this widely studied ALD process. We propose new saturation profile related classifications and terminology.