The via-first process is unique by the fact that a material is needed to fill the vias to some arbitrary value, with little or no isolated-dense via bias so that the underlying layer underneath the via is protected from the trench etch step. Secondly, this material may have to coat over the surface of the wafer with some chosen thickness again with minimum or no bias to maximize the trench photolithography process window. Finally, the material must be easily removed from the via after the trench etch with no residue, crowning, or fencing. The ideal via fill material would be able to perform all the above listed parameters, but no perfect solution exists yet. The etchback process that is discussed herein, called the solvent etchback (SOLVE) process bypasses these lengthy modules, will fit within today’s manufacturing processes and will have little impact on throughput of the photobay coating tools. The process utilizes industry standard photoresists solvents such as PGMEA, Ethyl Lactate, PGME and existing solvent prewet dispense nozzles in the BARC coater module. Also, this process only requires one material that can both fill the via and act as a BARC during the trench photo step with a user defined thickness on top the wafer that will minimize light reflections coming from the substrate. The process flow for the SOLVE process is: 1. Coat a wafer with a thick BARC to planarize the wafer and minimize isolated-dense bias. 2. Bake the BARC so that it is partially crosslinked.
3. Apply a solvent to the wafer and etchback the BARC to a thickness that suits the trench photo step. 4. Bake the BARC to fully crosslink the BARC. Process variables that can have an affect on the SOLVE process are the softbake temperature and time to modify the BARC thickness on the wafer. Dispense parameters that will modify the post-etch uniformity of the wafer include the dispense time, dispense spin speed and the IDI M450 dispense pressure. The repeatability of the process can be modified by changing the solvent spin off speed and acceleration.