• Megasonic Cleaning of Wafers in Electrolyte Solutions: Possible Role of Electro-acoustic and Cavitation Effects

      Raghavan, Srini; Keswani, Manish; Raghavan, Srini; Deymier, Pierre; Farrell, James; Blowers, Paul; Verhaverbeke, Steven (The University of Arizona., 2008)
      Megasonic cleaning is routinely used in the semiconductor industry to remove particulate contaminants from wafer and mask surfaces. Cleaning is achieved through proper choice of chemical solutions, power density and frequency of acoustic field. Considerable work has been done to increase understanding of particle removal mechanisms in megasonic cleaning using different solution chemistries with varying ionic strengths. However, to date, the focus of all these studies of particle removal has been either cavitation or acoustic streaming.The propagation of sound waves through a colloidal dispersion containing ions is known to result in the generation of two types of oscillating electric potentials, namely, Ionic Vibration Potential (IVP) and Colloid Vibration Potential (CVP). These potentials and their associated electric fields can exert forces on charged particles adhered to a surface, resulting in their removal. In addition, the pressure amplitude of the sound wave is also altered in solutions of higher ionic strengths, which can affect the cavitation process and further aid in the removal of particles from surfaces. To test the two hypotheses, investigations have been conducted on the feasibility of removal of charged particles from silicon wafers in electrolyte solutions of different ionic strengths irradiated with a megasonic field of different power densities. Cleaning experiments have been performed using potassium chloride (KCl) as a model electrolyte and silica particles as model contaminant particles. The cleaning performance in KCl solution has been compared to that in other electrolytes solutions such as sodium chloride, cesium chloride and lithium chloride. In order to characterize the cavitation events in KCl solutions, acoustic pressure and sonoluminescence measurements have been performed using hydrophone and cavitation probe respectively. The results indicate that particle removal efficiency (PRE) increases with KCl concentration and transducer power density and much lower power densities are required at higher KCl concentration for a comparable level of cleaning. Further, cleaning performances in NaCl and CsCl were found to be superior to those in KCl and LiCl solutions. Theoretical computations show that the removal forces due to CVP are much larger in magnitude than those due to IVP and are comparable to van der Waals forces.