Immersion lithography offers the semiconductor industry the opportunity to extend current ArF processes before switching to shorter wavelengths. As numerical apertures of scanners for hyper NA move above 1.0 with immersion lithography, increased attention must be paid to the photomask or reticle and its wafer printability. Feature sizes on the photomask become increasingly critical as they behave more like partial wire grid polarisers, as they become comparable to, or smaller than the wavelength. Besides challenges to address reticle polarisation effects, lithographers must also consider the polarisation state of the illumination and subsequently the contrast loss for light with a TM polarisation state. Such an effect, also called the vector effect, is caused by the increasing angle of incidence of the diffracted light for larger numerical apertures on the scanner. Therefore, for wafer printing using hyper NA scanners, the industry consensus is that TE polarised illumination must be used to meet the stringent requirements of imaging contrast.
In this paper, initial results of measurements using the optical test stand and the alpha tool of a completely new AIMSTM tool for the 45nm node will be presented. The system covers all aspects of immersion and polarisation lithographic emulation. Measurements have been made on binary and phase shift masks with different sizes of features and on programmed defects.