In this work we introduce automatic defect review (ADR) AFM for defect study and classification of EUV mask reticles that overcomes the aforementioned limitations of traditional AFM. This metrology solution is based on an AFM configuration with decoupled Z and XY scanners that makes it possible to collect large survey images with minimum out of plane motion. To minimize the stage errors and mismatch between the AFM and the AOI coordinates, the coordinates of fiducial markers are used for coarse alignment. In addition, fine alignment of the coordinates is performed using enhanced optical vision on marks on the reticle. The ADR AFM is used to study a series of phase defects identified by an AOI tool on a reticle. Locating the defects, imaging, and defect classification are performed using the ADR automation software and with the throughput of several defects per hour. In order to preserve tip life and data consistency, AFM imaging is performed in non-contact mode. The ADR AFM provides high throughput, high resolution, and non-destructive means for obtaining 3D information for defect review and classification. Therefore this technology can be used for in-line defect review and classification for mask repair.
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