Image Number 6 for United States Patent #7405152.
A damascene process incorporating a GCIB step is provided. The GCIB step can replace one or more CMP steps in the traditional damascene process. The GCIB step allows for selectable removal of unwanted material and thus, reduces unwanted erosion of certain nearby structures during damascene process. A GCIB step may also be incorporated in the damascene process as a final polish step to clean up surfaces that have been planarized using a CMP step.