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17 October 2008 Optimal mask characterization by Surrogate Wafer Print (SWaP) method
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Traditionally, definition of mask specifications is done completely by the mask user, while characterization of the mask relative to the specifications is done completely by the mask maker. As the challenges of low-k1 imaging continue to grow in scope of designs and in absolute complexity, the inevitable partnership between wafer lithographers and mask makers has strengthened as well. This is reflected in the jointly owned mask facilities and device manufacturers' continued maintenance of fully captive mask shops which foster the closer mask-litho relationships. However, while some device manufacturers have leveraged this to optimize mask specifications before the mask is built and, therefore, improve mask yield and cost, the opportunity for post-fabrication partnering on mask characterization is more apparent and compelling. The Advanced Mask Technology Center (AMTC) has been investigating the concept of assessing how a mask images, rather than the mask's physical attributes, as a technically superior and lower-cost method to characterize a mask. The idea of printing a mask under its intended imaging conditions, then characterizing the imaged wafer as a surrogate for traditional mask inspections and measurements represents the ultimate method to characterize a mask's performance, which is most meaningful to the user. Surrogate wafer print (SWaP) is already done as part of leading-edge wafer fab mask qualification to validate defect and dimensional performance. In the past, the prospect of executing this concept has generally been summarily discarded as technically untenable and logistically intractable. The AMTC published a paper at BACUS 2007 successfully demonstrating the performance of SWaP for the characterization of defects as an alternative to traditional mask inspection [1]. It showed that this concept is not only feasible, but, in some cases, desirable. This paper expands on last year's work at AMTC to assess the full implementation of SWaP as an enhancement to mask characterization quality including defectivity, dimensional control, pattern fidelity, and in-plane distortion. We present a thorough analysis of both the technical and logistical challenges coupled with an objective view of the advantages and disadvantages from both the technical and financial perspectives. The analysis and model used by the AMTC will serve to provoke other mask shops to prepare their own analyses then consider this new paradigm for mask characterization and qualification.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Kurt R. Kimmel, Ingo Hoellein, Jan Hendrick Peters, Paul Ackmann, Brid Connolly, and Craig West "Optimal mask characterization by Surrogate Wafer Print (SWaP) method", Proc. SPIE 7122, Photomask Technology 2008, 712219 (17 October 2008);

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