Defect review of advanced lithography processes is becoming more and more challenging as feature sizes decrease.
Previous studies using a defect review SEM on immersion lithography generated wafers have resulted in a defect
classification scheme which, among others, includes a category for micro-bridges. Micro-bridges are small connections
between two adjacent lines in photo-resist and are considered device killing defects. Micro-bridge rates also tend to
increase as feature sizes decrease, making them even more important for the next technology nodes.
Especially because micro-bridge defects can originate from different root causes, the need to further refine and split up
the classification of this type of defect into sub groups may become a necessity.
This paper focuses on finding the correlation of the different types of micro-bridge defects to a particular root cause
based on a full characterization and root cause analysis of this class of defects, by using advanced SEM review
capabilities like high quality imaging in very low FOV, Multi Perspective SEM Imaging (MPSI), tilted column and
rotated stage (Tilt&Rotation) imaging and Focused Ion Beam (FIB) cross sectioning.
Immersion lithography material has been mainly used to generate the set of data presented in this work even though, in
the last part of the results, some EUV lithography data will be presented as part of the continuing effort to extend the
micro-bridge defect characterization to the EUV technology on 40 nm technology node and beyond.