As the design rule of lithography becomes smaller, printability of reticle defect to wafer is crucial for the photomask manufacturing technology. In order to improve the controllability of reticle defects, inspection and repair systems are expanding their capability by continuously modifying hardware and software. This is a good solution to detect and review the defect but it is indirect approaching to reduce the defect in the photomask process. To produce the photomask of defect free or low defect density, effort is needed to improve the capability of defect control in the mask-making process and to evaluate the source of hard defect as well as soft defect.
In this paper, we concern the defect source and the feature of printed defects in photomask manufacturing steps. We also discuss the efforts to eliminate the defect source and to control the mask-making process with low defect density. In order to eliminate the source of defects, we partition the mask-making process with defect inspection system, SLF27 TeraStar and Lasertec MD2000, and review a defect shape with CD SEM and AFM. And we compare printed defects, which exist in each process steps, after dry etching process.