Rapid thermal processing (RTP) was originally developed for ion implantation and annealing. It has since been expanded to include oxidation, silicide formation, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and other advanced applications. Important characteristics of an RTP system include having a wide range of heating rates with a high upper limit, careful temperature monitoring, and ambient environment control. These capabilities make sophisticated thermal processing possible.
RTP is a widely used technique with applications beyond silicon, including gallium arsenide (GaAs), silicon carbide (SiC), and other substrate materials.
With RTP, wafers can be heated from room temperature with rates as low as 40C/s to higher than 200C/s and can be held at a closed-loop controlled temperature before being ramped down. Pyrometer and thermocouple sensing ensure the necessary temperature control.
RTP can be used in a multitude of semiconductor process steps such as post-implant annealing, oxide and nitride film growth, reflow, and the formation of silicides, salicides, and metal alloys.
With the appropriate arrangement and control of the halogen lamps both above and below the substrate, the substrate temperature can be kept uniform.
By using a nitrogen curtain, unwanted oxygen (O2) can be kept to a minimum and monitored with an O2 analyzer. This same analyzer can be used to control the O2 concentration during oxidation processes.
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