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7 July 1997 Photolithographic lens characterization of critical dimension variation using empirical focal-plane modeling
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Exposure tool optimization in process development today extends beyond the classic concepts of exposure and focus setting. The lithographer must understand and tune the system for critical feature performance using variables such as Numerical Aperture (NA), Partial Coherence (PC), and critical level tool matching. In a previous study, the authors demonstrated that the phase-shift focal plane monitor (PSFM) accurately measures focal plane variations when appropriate calibrations are employed. That paper also described the development of a model for classic aberrations such as Astigmatism, Field Curvature and Coma. The model considered geometrical aberrations (Seidel) with radial symmetry across image plane as being the primary contributor to CD variation across stepper image plane. The publication correlated image plane focal results to an approximation of the stepper's Critical Dimension (CD) behavior for a matrix of NA and PC settings. In this study, we continue the analysis of the focus budget and CD uniformity using two generations of optical steppers in a 0.35 micrometers process. The analysis first addresses questions involving the use of the PSFM including the variation of calibration across the exposure field and the advantages of using field center or full field calibrations. We describe a method of easily measuring the uniformity of NA and PC across the exposure field. These new tools are then applied as an aid in lens image field characterization and tool-to-tool matching. The information gathered is then applied to measure image aberrations and predict CD variation across the image under various conditions of focus. The predictions are validated by a comparison against CD uniformity as measured by a commercial Scanning Electron Microscope. Present work confirmed previous work and recent assumptions that Zernike diffraction theory of aberration is most appropriate for current stepper lenses with local image plane focal variations across entire field being the major contributor to field CD variations.
© (1997) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Mircea V. Dusa, Bo Su, Stephen Dellarochetta, and Terrence E. Zavecz "Photolithographic lens characterization of critical dimension variation using empirical focal-plane modeling", Proc. SPIE 3051, Optical Microlithography X, (7 July 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.275989;

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