20 March 2018 SEM contour based metrology for microlens process studies in CMOS image sensor technologies
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Abstract
From the first digital cameras which appeared during the 70s to cameras of current smartphones, image sensors have undergone significant technological development in the last decades. The development of CMOS image sensor technologies in the 90s has been the main driver of the recent progresses. The main component of an image sensor is the pixel. A pixel contains a photodiode connected to transistors but only the photodiode area is light sensitive. This results in a significant loss of efficiency. To solve this issue, microlenses are used to focus the incident light on the photodiode. A microlens array is made out of a transparent material and has a spherical cap shape. To obtain this spherical shape, a lithography process is performed to generate resist blocks which are then annealed above their glass transition temperature (reflow).

Even if the dimensions to consider are higher than in advanced IC nodes, microlenses are sensitive to process variability during lithography and reflow. A good control of the microlens dimensions is key to optimize the process and thus the performance of the final product.

The purpose of this paper is to apply SEM contour metrology [1, 2, 3, 4] to microlenses in order to develop a relevant monitoring methodology and to propose new metrics to engineers to evaluate their process or optimize the design of the microlens arrays.
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Amine Lakcher, Alain Ostrovsky, Bertrand Le-Gratiet, Ludovic Berthier, Laurent Bidault, Julien Ducoté, Clémence Jamin-Mornet, Etienne Mortini, Maxime Besacier, "SEM contour based metrology for microlens process studies in CMOS image sensor technologies ", Proc. SPIE 10587, Optical Microlithography XXXI, 105870T (20 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2297396; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2297396
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