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23 October 2015 From nightmares to sweet dreams: inspection of aggressive OPC on 14nm reticles (and beyond) using a novel high-NA and low-NA dual method
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Abstract
To prevent catastrophic failures in wafer manufacturing lines from reticle defects, mask manufacturers employ sophisticated reticle inspection systems to examine every shape on every reticle for defects. The predominant inspection systems in use today compare the reticle directly with the design database using high-NA optics (typically 3x higher resolution at the reticle plane than advanced wafer scanners).

High-NA optical inspection with its high signal to noise ratio (SNR) can readily detect small defects before they have lithographic impact, thus ensuring reticle quality. However, when inspecting certain aggressive OPC, high-NA inspection can overload on small OPC defects which do not have lithographic impact and thus, should generally be ignored.

Whereas, inspecting a reticle as imaged in the wafer plane (low-NA in the reticle plane) will generally ignore such small OPC defects; however, the SNR is often too low for certain defect types to provide the needed defect detection sensitivity to ensure reticle quality.

This paper discusses the design and performance of a novel reticle inspection method using high-NA and low-NA dual optical imaging and processing. This method offers the high defect sensitivity of high-NA inspection with the OPC tolerance of low-NA inspection. These two imaging methods are blended together into a seamless inspection mode suitable for aggressive OPC of the 14nm generation and beyond. The test reticles include 14nm logic designs containing aggressive OPC and native defects, as well as a 14 nm test reticle containing relevant programmed defects. Defect lithographic significance is judged using a Zeiss AIMS™ system.
© (2015) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Karen D. Badger, Michael Hibbs, Kazunori Seki, William Broadbent, Trent Hutchinson, and Vincent Redding "From nightmares to sweet dreams: inspection of aggressive OPC on 14nm reticles (and beyond) using a novel high-NA and low-NA dual method", Proc. SPIE 9635, Photomask Technology 2015, 963511 (23 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2197729
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