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Protection of conductors from oxidation in deposition chambers

Image Number 6 for United States Patent #7829457.

In some embodiments, after depositing conductive material on substrates in a deposition chamber, a reducing gas is introduced into as the chamber in preparation for unloading the substrates. The deposition chamber can be a batch CVD chamber and the deposited material can be a metal nitride, e.g., a transition metal nitride such as titanium metal nitride. As part of the preparation for unloading substrates from the chamber, the substrates may be cooled and the chamber is backfilled with a reducing gas to increase the chamber pressure. It has been found that oxidants can be introduced into the chamber during this time. The introduction of a reducing gas has been found to protect exposed metal-containing films from oxidation during the backfill and/or cooling process. The reducing gas is formed of a reducing agent and a carrier gas, with the reducing agent being a minority component of the reducing gas. By providing a reducing agent, the effects of oxidation on exposed metal-containing films is reduced, therefore enhancing the conductive properties of the metal films.

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