Nanoparticles provide multiple functionalities to the performance of CMP slurries. These include mechanical surface abrasion, mass transport of slurry chemistries between the pad and wafer surface, or increased chemical reactivity of some key additives by in-situ interactions with the particles surfaces. Since most of the inorganic nanosized oxides used as common abrasives in CMP slurries (silica, alumina, ceria) have chemically reactive hydrophilic surface functionalities in a large pH range (2 – 12), we can assume that significant interactions between the inorganic particles surface and some of the slurry additives (organic surfactants, oxidizers, film-forming ligands, removal rates promoters, etc.) could have a meaningful impact on slurry ultimate performances (removal rates, planarity, defectivity, etc.)
In this presentation we will highlight the significance of slurry abrasives as surface modified nanoparticles/chemical carriers, able to directly participate and control the metal oxidation/removal mechanism, removal rates and other polishing characteristics. We will discuss two relevant examples, both involving fumed silica as the carrier particle in two different low pH slurries of variable complexities in terms of design (with/without particles surface modifiers) and performance requirements for tungsten CMP. We will provide a complex variety of analytical evidence (TEM, SEM, FT-IR, GPC, cyclic voltammetry, MS-TOF) in order to support the proposed mechanism of “chemically activated fumed silica”, in its natural (no interactions with organic additives in the slurry) and surface modified form (in-situ interactions with organic additives), as a carrier of selective slurry components with enhanced chemical activity, that ultimately controls the tungsten CMP mechanism and the ability of the slurry to efficiently and predictably remove the oxidized tungsten film formed at the wafer surface.