Optical vision systems require both unidirectional and bidirectional measurements for the calibrations and the
verification of the tool performance to enable accurate measurements traceable to the SI unit Metre. However, for
bidirectional measurements up to now the national metrology institutes are unable to provide internationally recognized calibrations of suitable standards. Furthermore often users are not aware of the specific difficulties of these measurements. In this paper the current status and limitations of bidirectional optical measurements at the industrial level are summarised and compared to state-of-the-art optical linewidth measurements performed at PTB on measurement objects of semiconductor industry. It turns out, that for optical widths measurements at an uncertainty level below 1 μm
edge localisation schemes are required, which are based on tool and sample dependent threshold values, which usually
need to be determined by a rigorous simulation of the microscopic image. Furthermore the calibration samples and
structures must have a sufficient quality, e. g. high edge angle and low edge roughness and the structure materials and their material parameters have to be known. The experience obtained within the accreditation process of industrial labs for width calibrations shows that, in order to be able to achieve a desired measurement uncertainties of about 100 nm, the imaging system needs to have a monochromatic Koehler illumination, numerical aperture larger than 0.5, a magnification greater than 50x and the ability to control the deviation of the focus position to better than 100 nm.