26 June 2017 Numerical investigations of the potential for laser focus sensors in micrometrology
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Abstract
Laser focus sensors (LFS)1 attached to a scanning nano-positioning and measuring machine (NPMM) enable near diffraction limit resolution with very large measuring areas up to 200 x 200 mm1. Further extensions are planned to address wafer sizes of 8 inch and beyond. Thus, they are preferably suited for micro-metrology on large wafers. On the other hand, the minimum lateral features in state-of-the-art semiconductor industry are as small as a few nanometer and therefore far beyond the resolution limits of classical optics. New techniques such as OCD or ODP3,4 a.k.a. as scatterometry have helped to overcome these constraints considerably. However, scatterometry relies on regular patterns and therefore, the measurements have to be performed on special reference gratings or boxes rather than in-die. Consequently, there is a gap between measurement and the actual structure of interest which becomes more and more an issues with shrinking feature sizes. On the other hand, near-field approaches would also allow to extent the resolution limit greatly5 but they require very challenging controls to keep the working distance small enough to stay within the near field zone.

Therefore, the feasibility and the limits of a LFS scanner system have been investigated theoretically. Based on simulations of laser focus sensor scanning across simple topographies, it was found that there is potential to overcome the diffraction limitations to some extent by means of vicinity interference effects caused by the optical interaction of adjacent topography features. We think that it might be well possible to reconstruct the diffracting profile by means of rigorous diffraction simulation based on a thorough model of the laser focus sensor optics in combination with topography diffraction 6 in a similar way as applied in OCD. The difference lies in the kind of signal itself which has to be modeled. While standard OCD is based on spectra, LFS utilizes height scan signals. Simulation results are presented for different types of topographies (dense vs. sparse, regular vs. single) with lateral features near and beyond the classical resolution limit. Moreover, the influence of topography height on the detectability is investigated. To this end, several sensor principles and polarization setups are considered such as a dual color pin hole sensor and a Foucault knife sensor. It is shown that resolution beyond the Abbe or Rayleigh limit is possible even with “classical” optical setups when combining measurements with sophisticated profile retrieval techniques and some a-priori knowledge. Finally, measurement uncertainties are derived based on perturbation simulations according to the method presented in 7.
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Jörg Bischoff, Jörg Bischoff, Rostyslav Mastylo, Rostyslav Mastylo, Eberhard Manske, Eberhard Manske, } "Numerical investigations of the potential for laser focus sensors in micrometrology", Proc. SPIE 10330, Modeling Aspects in Optical Metrology VI, 103300N (26 June 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2270252; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2270252
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