In this study, wafer weak points sensitive to mask mean-to-nominal values are characterized for a process with very high MEEF (normally more than 4). Aerial image CD uses fixed threshold to detect the wafer weak points. By using WLCD through threshold and focus window, the efficiency of wafer weak point detection is also demonstrated. A novel method using contrast range evaluation is shown in the paper. Use of the slope of aerial images for more accurate detection of the wafer weak points using WLCD is also discussed. The contrast range can also be used to detect the wafer weak points in advance. Further, since the mean to nominal of the reticle contributes to the effective contrast range in a high MEEF area this work shows that control of the mask error is critical for high MEEF layers such as poly, active and metal layers. Wafer process based weak points that cannot be detected by wafer lithography CD or WLCD will be discussed.
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