In immersion lithography, DI water fills the space between the resist surface and the last lens element. However water is also a good solvent for most of the leaching compounds from resists. The leaching materials from the resist and the original impurities in the water from pipelines pose a significant risk on bottom lens deterioration, wafer surface particles, and facility contamination. If the bottom lens surface deteriorates, it can cause flare and reduce transparency. Particles on the wafer surface can degrade image formation. In addition to contaminating the facility, the impurity inside the water can cause stains or defects after the water is evaporated from the wafer surface.
In order to reduce the impact of such contamination, we have evaluated many chemicals for removing organic contamination as well as particles. We have collected and characterized immersion-induced particles from cleaning studies on bare silicon wafers. We have also used oxide wafers to simulate the lens damage caused by the cleaning chemicals. In case, a mega sonic power is not suitable for scanners last lens element in production FABs, the emulsion concept has also been adopted to remove the lens organic contaminants. We have studied many chemical and mechanical methods for tool cleaning, and identified those that possess good organic solubility and particle removal efficiency. These cleaning methods will be used in periodic maintenance procedures to ensure freedom from defects in immersion lithography.