In this work, we highlight one contributor that may negatively impact the on-product overlay performance, namely the etch step. The focus will be mainly on the wafer edge region but the remaining part of the wafer is considered as well. Three use-cases are examined: multiple Litho-Etch steps (LEn), contact hole layer etch, and the copper dual damascene etch. We characterize the etch contribution by considering the overlay measurement after resist development inspect (ADI) and after etch inspect (AEI). We show that the Yieldstar diffraction based overlay (μDBO) measurements can be utilized to characterize the etch contribution to the overlay budget. The effects of target asymmetry as well as overlay shifts are considered and compared with SEM measurements.
Based on the results above, we propose a control solution aiming to reduce or even eliminate the delta between ADI and AEI. By doing so, target/mark to device offsets due to etch might be avoided.