12 April 2013 Line edge roughness (LER) mitigation studies specific to interference-like lithography
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Abstract
Line edge roughness (LER) is a common problem to most lithography approaches and is seen as the main resolution limiter for advanced technology nodes1. There are several contributors to LER such as chemical/optical shot noise, random nature of acid diffusion, development process, and concentration of acid generator/base quencher. Since interference-like lithography (IL) is used to define one directional gridded patterns, some LER mitigation approaches specific to IL-like imaging can be explored. Two methods investigated in this work for this goal are (i) translational image averaging along the line direction and (ii) pupil plane filtering. Experiments regarding the former were performed on both interferometric and projection lithography systems. Projection lithography experiments showed a small amount of reduction in low/mid frequency LER value for image averaged cases at pitch of 150 nm (193 nm illumination, 0.93 NA) with less change for smaller pitches. Aerial image smearing did not significantly increase LER since it was directional. Simulation showed less than 1% reduction in NILS (compared to a static, smooth mask equivalent) with ideal alignment. In addition, description of pupil plane filtering on the transfer of mask roughness is given. When astigmatism-like aberrations were introduced in the pupil, transfer of mask roughness is decreased at best focus. It is important to exclude main diffraction orders from the filtering to prevent contrast and NILS loss. These ideas can be valuable as projection lithography approaches to conditions similar to IL (e.g. strong RET methods).
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Burak Baylav, Burak Baylav, Andrew Estroff, Andrew Estroff, Peng Xie, Peng Xie, Bruce W. Smith, Bruce W. Smith, } "Line edge roughness (LER) mitigation studies specific to interference-like lithography", Proc. SPIE 8683, Optical Microlithography XXVI, 86831Y (12 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2011505; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2011505
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