Nondestructive subsurface nanoimaging through optically opaque media is considered to be extremely challenging and is essential for several semiconductor metrology applications including overlay and alignment and buried void and defect characterization. The current key challenge in overlay and alignment is the measurement of targets that are covered by optically opaque layers. Moreover, with the device dimensions moving to the smaller nodes and the issue of the so-called loading effect causing offsets between between targets and product features, it is increasingly desirable to perform alignment and overlay on product features or so-called on-cell overlay, which requires higher lateral resolution than optical methods can provide. Our recently developed technique known as SubSurface Ultrasonic Resonance Force Microscopy (SSURFM) has shown the capability for high-resolution imaging of structures below a surface based on (visco-)elasticity of the constituent materials and as such is a promising technique to perform overlay and alignment with high resolution in upcoming production nodes. In this paper, we describe the developed SSURFM technique and the experimental results on imaging buried features through various layers and the ability to detect objects with resolution below 10 nm. In summary, the experimental results show that the SSURFM is a potential solution for on-cell overlay and alignment as well as detecting buried defects or voids and generally metrology through optically opaque layers.
Maarten H. van Es, Abbas Mohtashami, Daniele Piras, and Hamed Sadeghian, "Image-based overlay and alignment metrology through optically opaque media with sub-surface probe microscopy," Proc. SPIE 10585, Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXXII, 105850R (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: February 27, 2018; Published: 13 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2299956.
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