In keeping up with the tightening overall budget in lithography, metrology requirements have reached a deep subnanometer
level . This drives the need for clean metrology (resolution and precision). Results have been
published of a thorough investigation of a scatterometry-based platform from ASML , showing promising
results on resolution, precision, and tool matching for overlay, CD and focus [2 - 6].
But overall requirements are so extreme that all measures must be taken in order to meet them. In light of this, in
addition to above-mentioned need for resolution and precision, the speed and sophistication in communication
between litho and metrology (feedback control) are also becoming increasingly crucial. An effective sampling
strategy for metrology plays a big role in order to achieve this.
This study discusses results from above mentioned scatterometry-based platform in light of sampling optimization.
For overlay, various sampling schemes (dense / sparse combinations as well as inter and intra field schemes) were
used on many production lots. The effectiveness of such sample schemes were studied to reveal an ideal sampling
scheme that can result in 0.5nm to 1nm gain in overlay control (compare to today's practice). Moreover, cycle time
contribution of metrology (at litho) in overall cycle time of a full process flow was investigated and quantified with
the concept of integrated metrology. Results indicate a cycle time reduction per layer (if an integrated concept is
used) of 3 to 5 hours, which can easily add up to several days of total cycle time reduction for a fab.