Semiconductor design rules and process windows continue to shrink, so we face many challenges in developing new processes such as 300mm wafer, copper line and low-k dielectrics. The challenges have become more difficult because we must solve problems on patterned and un-patterned wafers. The problems include physical defects, electrical defects, and even macro defects, which can ruin an entire wafer rather than just a die. The optics and electron beam have been
mainly used for detecting of the critical defects, but both technologies have disadvantages. The optical inspection is generally not enough sensitive for defects at 100nm geometries and below, while the SEM inspection has low throughput because it takes long time in preparing a vacuum and scanning 300mm. In order to find a solution to these problems, we propose the novel optical inspecting method for the critical defects using standing wave shift. This method is based on a super-resolution algorism in which the inspection system's resolution exceeds the diffraction limit by shifting standing wave with the piezoelectric actuator. Additionally this method is optical one, so we can expect to develop high throughput inspection system. In this report, we performed theoretical discussions and computer
simulations the defect detection on a patterned wafer. As a result, we succeeded in detecting the critical defects in the sub-90nm line and space interconnections.