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Regeneration Process for Stencil Masks Used in Ion Beam Patterning

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021533D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Jan-22
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Jan-22
Document File: 2 page(s) / 73K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Ion beam irradiation through a stencil mask is a well known technique for generating micro- or nano-structured materials [1,2,3,4]. Using this technique, the structures defined by the openings in the mask membrane are transferred into a resist or another kind of ion irradiation sensitive material such as magnetic Co/Pt multilayer thin films.

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Regeneration Process for Stencil Masks Used in Ion Beam Patterning

Ion beam irradiation through a stencil mask is a well known technique for generating micro- or nano-structured materials [1,2,3,4]. Using this technique, the structures defined by the openings in the mask membrane are transferred into a resist or another kind of ion irradiation sensitive material such as magnetic Co/Pt multilayer thin films. The masks can be positioned either in direct contact with the sensitive substrate material or at some distance from the substrate material which is feasible if an ion projection optics is used. In the first case the mask and the substrate are exposed with ions of the same energy. In the latter case the ion energy may considerably differ between the mask position and the substrate position. Therefore, the ion energy at the mask can be optimized for minimal ion damage. Nevertheless, in both cases the ion irradiation leads to ion implantation and thereby induces strain in the mask and/or sputtering of the mask material. Both will limit the lifetime of the mask. Ion projection masks for structuring larger areas are very expensive (several ten thousand dollars) because their fabrication process is very elaborated. When using ion projection in an industrial manufacturing process the mask costs will have a significant impact on the fabrication costs. A method that can extend the mask lifetime by reducing ion damage in the mask is therefore of great interest.

plasma source

plasmagas inletstencil mask

CH22

Figure 1: The disclosed method for regenerating stencil masks can be applied using a plasma chamber and switching between O2 gas supply for removing the worn out stencil mask carbon coating and supply of C2H2 for depositing a fresh protective carbon layer on the stencil mask.

    Disclosed is a method that extends the mask lifetime by a adding a protective layer which is removed after it has worn out and immediately after this a fresh protective coating is deposited. The removal of the worn out and the deposition of a fresh protective coating is performed in direct sequence by using the same plasma source. In this way, stencil masks can be regenerated for many times whenever the protective coating is worn out.

    A thin carbon layer on top of the mask surface can be used to protect the silic...