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APPLIED MATERIALS

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“Side Inject Designs For Improved Radical Concentrations” in Patent Application Approval Process (USPTO 20190228942): Applied Materials Inc.

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08/14/2019 | 05:47pm EDT

2019 AUG 14 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Technology Business Daily -- A patent application by the inventors SHONO, Eric Kihara (San Mateo, CA); PANDEY, Vishwas Kumar (Madhya Pradesh, IN); OLSEN, Christopher S. (Fremont, CA); LO, Hansel (San Jose, CA); TJANDRA, Agus Sofian (San Jose, CA); KIM, Taewan (San Jose, CA); KAUFMAN-OSBORN, Tobin (Sunnyvale, CA), filed on January 15, 2019, was made available online on July 25, 2019, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by NewsRx correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Applied Materials Inc. (Santa Clara, California, United States).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: “Field

“Embodiments of the present disclosure generally relate to manufacturing semiconductor devices. More specifically, embodiments described herein relate to manufacture of floating gate NAND memory devices and other transistor gate structures using an improved side inject for ions, radicals, and electrons from a remote plasma source.

“Description of the Related Art

“Flash memory, such as NAND flash memory devices, is a commonly used type of non-volatile memory in widespread use for mass storage applications. The NAND flash memory devices typically have a stacked type gate structure in which a tunnel oxide (TO), a floating gate (FG), an inter-poly dielectric (IPD), and a control gate (CG) are sequentially stacked on a semiconductor substrate. The floating gate, the tunnel oxide, and the underlying portion of the substrate generally form a cell (or memory unit) of the NAND flash memory device. A shallow trench isolation (STI) region is disposed in the substrate between each cell adjacent to the tunnel oxide and the floating gate to separate the cell from adjacent cells. During writing of the NAND flash memory devices, a positive voltage is applied to the control gate which draws electrons from the substrate into the floating gate. For erasing data of the NAND flash memory devices, a positive voltage is applied to the substrate to discharge electrons from the floating gate and through the tunnel oxide. The flow of electrons is sensed by a sensing circuitry and results in the returns of ‘0’ or ‘1’ as current indicators. The amount of electrons in the floating gate and ‘0’ or ‘1’ characteristics form the basis for storing data in the NAND flash memory devices.

“The floating gate is typically isolated from the semiconductor substrate by the tunnel oxide and from the control gate by the inter-poly dielectric, which prevents the leakage of electrons between, for example, the substrate and the floating gate or the floating gate and the control gate. To enable continued physical scaling of the NAND flash memory device, a nitridation process has been used by the industry to incorporate nitrogen into the surface of the floating gate to improve the reliability of the tunnel oxide or to suppress dopant diffusion out of the floating gate. However, the nitridation process also undesirably incorporates nitrogen into shallow trench isolation regions. Nitrogen incorporated in the shallow trench isolation region between neighboring floating gate structures forms a charge leakage path which can negatively impact final device performance.

“In general, plasmas generated by, for example, an energetic excitation of gaseous molecules, contain a plasma of charged ions, radicals, and electrons. Radicals of a plasma generally react in a much more desirable manner with silicon, polysilicon, or silicon nitride material on a substrate, than ions or a mixture of radicals and ions. In that regard, it would be beneficial to eliminate the majority of the ions of the plasma such that only radicals of the plasma react with silicon, polysilicon, or silicon nitride material on a substrate, thereby obtaining a greater selectivity of processing of silicon or polysilicon material on the substrate.

“Many current substrate processing systems include a remote plasma source coupled to a processing chamber through a side inject. Ideally, radicals from the remote plasma source travel through the side inject to the processing chamber and then flow over and across the surface of the substrate. In many current substrate processing systems, the configuration of the side inject may cause significant radical loss due, at least in part, to a restricted shape/size of a coupling adaptor (between the side inject and the processing chamber). For example, the configuration may result in a significant amount of volume-surface recombination before the radicals reach the processing chamber. Some current substrate processing systems may exacerbate the volume-surface recombinations by creating back-pressure from the RPS to the processing chamber (see U.S. Pat. No. 6,450,116 to Nobel, et. al.)

“It would be beneficial to improve the configuration of the side inject and/or the adaptor piece to give greater radical availability over the substrate by reducing or minimizing the volume-surface recombination.”

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent application: “A chamber inlet assembly for a substrate processing system includes a chamber inlet; an outer coupling for a delivery line; an inner coupling for a processing region of a processing chamber, the inner coupling and the outer coupling being on inner and outer ends, respectively, of the chamber inlet, wherein a cross-sectional area of the inner coupling is larger than a cross-sectional area of the outer coupling; a longitudinal profile comprising the inner and outer ends and a first side and a second side, the first and second sides being on opposite sides of the chamber inlet, wherein a shape of the longitudinal profile comprises at least one of triangular, modified triangular, trapezoidal, modified trapezoidal, rectangular, modified rectangular, rhomboidal, modified rhomboidal; and a cassette including the chamber inlet and configured to set into a side wall of the processing chamber.

“An inlet member for a delivery line for a substrate processing system includes a first end for coupling to a mounting sleeve of the delivery line; a second end for coupling to a processing chamber; and an inlet passageway extending from the first end to the second end, wherein: the inlet passageway comprises a cylindrical portion proximate the first end, the inlet passageway comprises a conical portion proximate the second end, and a first cross-sectional area at the first end is less than a second cross-sectional area at the second end.

“A substrate processing system includes a delivery line coupled between a processing chamber and a remote plasma source; the processing chamber comprising a side wall; and a chamber inlet assembly set into the side wall, the chamber inlet assembly comprising: a chamber inlet; an outer coupling to the delivery line; an inner coupling for a processing region of the processing chamber, the inner coupling and the outer coupling being on inner and outer ends, respectively, of the chamber inlet, wherein a cross-sectional area of the inner coupling is larger than a cross-sectional area of the outer coupling; a longitudinal profile comprising the inner and outer ends and a first side and a second side, the first and second sides being on opposite sides of the chamber inlet, wherein a shape of the longitudinal profile comprises at least one of triangular, modified triangular, trapezoidal, modified trapezoidal, rectangular, modified rectangular, rhomboidal, modified rhomboidal; and a cassette including the chamber inlet and configured to set into the side wall.

“A substrate processing system includes a processing chamber; and a delivery line coupled between the processing chamber and a remote plasma source, the delivery line comprising: a mounting sleeve coupled to the remote plasma source; and an inlet member, the inlet member comprising: a first end for coupling to the mounting sleeve; a second end for coupling to the processing chamber; and an inlet passageway extending from the first end to the second end, wherein: the inlet passageway comprises a cylindrical portion proximate the first end, the inlet passageway comprises a conical portion proximate the second end, and a first cross-sectional area at the first end is less than a second cross-sectional area at the second end.”

The claims supplied by the inventors are:

“1. A chamber inlet assembly for a substrate processing system comprising: a chamber inlet; an outer coupling for a delivery line; an inner coupling for a processing region of a processing chamber, the inner coupling and the outer coupling being on inner and outer ends, respectively, of the chamber inlet, wherein a cross-sectional area of the inner coupling is larger than a cross-sectional area of the outer coupling; a longitudinal profile comprising the inner and outer ends and a first side and a second side, the first and second sides being on opposite sides of the chamber inlet, wherein a shape of the longitudinal profile comprises at least one of triangular, modified triangular, trapezoidal, modified trapezoidal, rectangular, modified rectangular, rhomboidal, and modified rhomboidal; and a cassette including the chamber inlet and configured to set into a side wall of the processing chamber.

“2. The chamber inlet assembly of claim 1, wherein: a chamber inlet longitudinal axis extends from a center of the processing region, through the inner end, and to the outer coupling, a delivery line longitudinal axis, parallel to the delivery line, extends from the delivery line and through the outer coupling, and the chamber inlet longitudinal axis makes an angle with the delivery line longitudinal axis of between 10 degrees and 70 degrees.

“3. The chamber inlet assembly of claim 2, wherein the deliver line longitudinal axis intersects with the first side at a point between the inner end and the outer end.

“4. The chamber inlet assembly of claim 1, wherein the first side is curved.

“5. The chamber inlet assembly of claim 4, wherein the first side aligns with the delivery line at the outer coupling and curves towards the second side as the first side nears the inner coupling.

“6. The chamber inlet assembly of claim 1, wherein the first side is straight and aligns with an interior wall of the delivery line.

“7. The chamber inlet assembly of claim 1, wherein the first side is straight and makes an angle of less than 180.degree. with an interior wall of the delivery line.

“8. The chamber inlet assembly of claim 1, wherein a length of the outer coupling is less than a length of the outer end.

“9. An inlet member for a delivery line for a substrate processing system comprising: a first end for coupling to a mounting sleeve of the delivery line; a second end for coupling to a processing chamber; and an inlet passageway extending from the first end to the second end, wherein: the inlet passageway comprises a cylindrical portion proximate the first end, the inlet passageway comprises a conical portion proximate the second end, and a first cross-sectional area at the first end is less than a second cross-sectional area at the second end.

“10. The inlet member of claim 9, wherein an interior cross-sectional area monotonically increases from the first end of the inlet passageway to the second end of the inlet passageway.

“11. The inlet member of claim 9, wherein an interior wall of the inlet passageway comprises an angle where the cylindrical portion transitions to the conical portion.

“12. The inlet member of claim 9, wherein a shape of the second cross-sectional area comprises at least one of oval, ellipsoidal, oblong, stadium, rounded-rectangular, asymmetric, and irregular.

“13. A substrate processing system comprising: a delivery line coupled between a processing chamber and a remote plasma source, the delivery line comprising: a mounting sleeve coupled to the remote plasma source; and an inlet member, the inlet member comprising: a first end for coupling to the mounting sleeve; a second end for coupling to the processing chamber; and an inlet passageway extending from the first end to the second end, wherein: the inlet passageway comprises a cylindrical portion proximate the first end, the inlet passageway comprises a conical portion proximate the second end, and a first cross-sectional area at the first end is less than a second cross-sectional area at the second end.

“14. The substrate processing system of claim 13, wherein an interior wall of the inlet passageway comprises an angle where the cylindrical portion transitions to the conical portion.

“15. The substrate processing system of claim 13, further comprising a chamber inlet set into a side wall of the processing chamber, the chamber inlet comprising: an outer coupling to the delivery line; an inner coupling for a processing region of the processing chamber, the inner coupling and the outer coupling being on inner and outer ends, respectively, of the chamber inlet; and a longitudinal profile comprising the inner and outer ends and a first side and a second side, the first and second sides being on opposite sides of the chamber inlet, wherein a wall of the conical portion aligns with the second side of the chamber inlet to form a linear surface from the angle the to the inner end.

“16. The substrate processing system of claim 14, wherein the deliver line longitudinal axis intersects with the first side at a point between the inner end and the outer end.

“17. The substrate processing system of claim 13, wherein the first side is curved.

“18. The substrate processing system of claim 17, wherein the first side aligns with the delivery line at the outer coupling and curves towards the second side as the first side nears the inner coupling.

“19. The substrate processing system of claim 13, wherein the first side is straight and aligns with an interior wall of the delivery line.

“20. The substrate processing system of claim 13, wherein the first side is straight and makes an angle of less than 180.degree. with an interior wall of the delivery line, and wherein a length of the outer coupling is less than a length of the outer end.”

URL and more information on this patent application, see: SHONO, Eric Kihara; PANDEY, Vishwas Kumar; OLSEN, Christopher S.; LO, Hansel; TJANDRA, Agus Sofian; KIM, Taewan; KAUFMAN-OSBORN, Tobin. Side Inject Designs For Improved Radical Concentrations. Filed January 15, 2019 and posted July 25, 2019. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220190228942%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20190228942&RS=DN/20190228942

(Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world.)

Copyright © 2019 NewsRx LLC, Technology Business Daily, source Technology Newsletters

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