17 December 2003 Preliminary results for mask metrology using spatial heterodyne interferometry
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Spatial heterodyne interferometry (SHI) is an imaging technique that captures both the phase and amplitude of a complex wavefront in a single high-speed image. This technology was developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and is currently being implemented for semiconductor wafer inspection by nLine Corporation. As with any system that measures phase, metrology and inspection of surface structures is possible by capturing a wavefront reflected from the surface. The interpretation of surface structure heights for metrology applications can become very difficult with the many layers of various materials used on semiconductor wafers, so inspection (defect detection) has been the primary focus for semiconductor wafers. However, masks used for photolithography typically only contain a couple well-defined materials opening the doors to high-speed mask metrology in 3 dimensions in addition to inspection. Phase shift masks often contain structures etched out of the transparent substrate material for phase shifting. While these structures are difficult to inspect using only intensity, the phase and amplitude images captured with SHI can produce very good resolution of these structures. The phase images also provide depth information that is crucial for these phase shift regions. Preliminary testing has been performed to determine the feasibility of SHI for high-speed non-contact mask metrology using a prototype SHI system with 532 nm wavelength illumination named the Visible Alpha Tool (VAT). These results show that prototype SHI system is capable of performing critical dimension measurements on 400nm lines with a repeatability of 1.4nm and line height measurements with a repeatability of 0.26nm. Additionally initial imaging of an alternating aperture phase shift mask has shown the ability of SHI to discriminate between typical phase shift heights.
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Philip R. Bingham, Philip R. Bingham, Kenneth Tobin, Kenneth Tobin, Marylyn H. Bennett, Marylyn H. Bennett, Pat Marmillion, Pat Marmillion, } "Preliminary results for mask metrology using spatial heterodyne interferometry", Proc. SPIE 5256, 23rd Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology, (17 December 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.518364; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.518364

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