Plasma-assisted cleaning by metastable-atom neutralization (PACMAN): A plasma approach to cleanliness in lithography

W. M. Lytle, Daniel Andruczyk, V. Jindal, David N Ruzic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Plasma-Assisted Cleaning by Metastable-Atom Neutralization (PACMAN) cleaning technique being developed in the Center for Plasma-Material Interactions (CPMI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a dry-non-contact vacuum-based removal technique. The PACMAN process uses a high density helium plasma (ne ≈ 1017m-3, Te ≈ 3eV) to achieve removal of organic contaminants on optical masks, EUV masks, silicon wafers, and optics material used in integrated circuit manufacturing. The PACMAN process is successful at removing both hydrocarbon particles as well as carbon layers by utilizing the high-energy helium metastables in the plasma. The helium metastables, with 20eV of energy, are used to break the bonds of the particle allowing for volatilization or desorption of the atoms/hydrocarbon chains of the particle to achieve an etching-like removal method without using traditional etchant process gasses. With ion energies of 10eV, damage such as surface roughening or surface erosion to the underlying structures being cleaned are avoided. Also, film densification (the removal of hydrogen from a hydrocarbon resulting in a dense carbon layer at the surface of the particle) is avoided in the PACMAN technique due to the absence of high-energy ions which would preferentially sputter hydrogen out of the particle matrix. Preliminary results for the removal of polystyrene latex nanoparticles in the range of 30 nm to 500 nm have shown removal rates of 1.2x107 ± 5.1x105 nm3/min without damage to silicon wafers. Also, carbon films on silicon wafers have been removed with the PACMAN technique at a rate of 3.0x106 ± 1.3x105 nm3/min. Current results of cleaning various particle types from surfaces through the PACMAN process will be presented in addition to a theoretical model of the removal process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationExtreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography II
StatePublished - Jun 8 2011
EventExtreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography II - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 28 2011Mar 3 2011


OtherExtreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography II
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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