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Quantum Cascade Laser-Based Measurement of Metal Alkylamide Density During Atomic Layer Deposition

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An in situ gas-phase diagnostic for the metal alkylamide compound tetrakis(ethylmethylamido) hafnium (TEMAH), Hf[N(C2H5)(CH3)]4, was demonstrated. This diagnostic is based on direct absorption measurement of TEMAH vapor using an external cavity quantum cascade laser emitting at 979 cm−1, coinciding with the most intense TEMAH absorption in the mid-infrared spectral region, and employing 50 kHz amplitude modulation with synchronous detection. Measurements were performed in a single-pass configuration in a research-grade atomic layer deposition (ALD) chamber. To examine the detection limit of this technique for use as a TEMAH delivery monitor, this technique was demonstrated in the absence of any other deposition reactants or products, and to examine the selectivity of this technique in the presence of deposition products that potentially interfere with detection of TEMAH vapor, it was demonstrated during ALD of hafnium oxide using TEMAH and water. This technique successfully detected TEMAH at molecular densities present during simulated industrial ALD conditions. During hafnium oxide ALD using TEMAH and water, absorbance from gas-phase reaction products did not interfere with TEMAH measurements while absorption by reaction products deposited on the optical windows did interfere, although interfering absorption by deposited reaction products corresponded to only ≈4% of the total derived TEMAH density. With short measurement times and appropriate signal averaging, estimated TEMAH minimum detectable densities as low as ≈2 × 1012 molecules/cm3 could be obtained. While this technique was demonstrated specifically for TEMAH delivery and hafnium oxide ALD using TEMAH and water, it should be readily applicable to other metal alkylamide compounds and associated metal oxide and nitride deposition chemistries, assuming similar metal alkylamide molar absorptivity and molecular density in the measurement chamber.

Keywords: ALD; Atomic layer deposition; Infrared absorption; Laser spectroscopy; Metal alkylamide; Quantum cascade laser; TEMAH; Tetrakis(ethylmethylamino) hafnium

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8320, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8320, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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