16 March 2009 Speckle in optical lithography and the influence on line width roughness
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In recent years the topic of speckle in optical projection microlithography received increasing interest because of its potential contribution to line width roughness (LWR). Speckle is a light interference effect that causes the dose delivered to the reticle to be not uniform. This will cause a line width variation of the patterns imaged in the resist. The contrast of the speckle pattern is shown to be caused by a combination of temporal and spatial coherence effects of the light. The temporal part, determined by the bandwidth of the laser light and the duration of the laser pulse, is found to be the dominant contributor to speckle in today's ArF optical lithography. The spatial distribution of the speckle pattern depends on the intensity distribution of the light in the pupil. Consequently the spatial frequencies of the LWR induced by speckle will depend on the illumination condition, which is confirmed experimentally by exposing wafers with different amounts of speckle contrast. The experiments demonstrate that the amplitude of the LWR induced by speckle is consistent with theory and simulations. Its amplitude is small compared to other sources of LWR, but it is clearly present and should not be ignored when extending ArF optical lithography into future technology nodes.
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Oscar Noordman, Andrey Tychkov, Jan Baselmans, James Tsacoyeanes, Gary Politi, Michael Patra, Vladan Blahnik, Manfred Maul, "Speckle in optical lithography and the influence on line width roughness", Proc. SPIE 7274, Optical Microlithography XXII, 72741R (16 March 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.814169; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.814169

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