Delaware Patent of the Month – August 2022

Semiconductor fabrication processes use plasma processing in various ways to create microprocessors, memory chips, and various integrated circuits. As these devices shrink in size and increase in complexity, the processing time needed to fabricate these features also shrinks, approaching the 5-6 second range. With current radio frequency (RF) technology, matching networks takes 1-2 seconds which eats up a significant amount of the processing time and leaves a third of the processing time without stable parameters. 

Reno Technologies, Inc. has tackled this problem, working with electronically variable capacitor (EVC) technology to reduce this connection time to less than 500 microseconds. The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create a controlled system and improve processing speed. 

This monitored system uses an impedance matching network between RF sources and a plasma chamber. The AI uses initial values to adjust the parameters rapidly and accurately throughout processing. These parameters include voltage, current, capacitance values, and a phase at the RF input. The AI uses these to determine the needed input impedance, plasma impedance, and variable capacitances. Through rigorous testing, Reno Technologies has found their AI-controlled EVC technology takes about 9-11 μsec total, as compared to about 1-2 sec of time for an RF matching network using VVCs. Additional reductions in the RF power profile and reflected power results in an overall improvement in the match tune process. This improvement means there is less processing time without stable parameters, creating a more effective semiconductor fabrication overall.

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