10 May 2016 ILT based defect simulation of inspection images accurately predicts mask defect printability on wafer
Author Affiliations +
At advanced technology nodes mask complexity has been increased because of large-scale use of resolution enhancement technologies (RET) which includes Optical Proximity Correction (OPC), Inverse Lithography Technology (ILT) and Source Mask Optimization (SMO). The number of defects detected during inspection of such mask increased drastically and differentiation of critical and non-critical defects are more challenging, complex and time consuming. Because of significant defectivity of EUVL masks and non-availability of actinic inspection, it is important and also challenging to predict the criticality of defects for printability on wafer. This is one of the significant barriers for the adoption of EUVL for semiconductor manufacturing. Techniques to decide criticality of defects from images captured using non actinic inspection images is desired till actinic inspection is not available. High resolution inspection of photomask images detects many defects which are used for process and mask qualification. Repairing all defects is not practical and probably not required, however it’s imperative to know which defects are severe enough to impact wafer before repair. Additionally, wafer printability check is always desired after repairing a defect. AIMSTM review is the industry standard for this, however doing AIMSTM review for all defects is expensive and very time consuming. Fast, accurate and an economical mechanism is desired which can predict defect printability on wafer accurately and quickly from images captured using high resolution inspection machine. Predicting defect printability from such images is challenging due to the fact that the high resolution images do not correlate with actual mask contours. The challenge is increased due to use of different optical condition during inspection other than actual scanner condition, and defects found in such images do not have correlation with actual impact on wafer. Our automated defect simulation tool predicts printability of defects at wafer level and automates the process of defect dispositioning from images captured using high resolution inspection machine. It first eliminates false defects due to registration, focus errors, image capture errors and random noise caused during inspection. For the remaining real defects, actual mask-like contours are generated using the Calibre® ILT solution [1][2], which is enhanced to predict the actual mask contours from high resolution defect images. It enables accurate prediction of defect contours, which is not possible from images captured using inspection machine because some information is already lost due to optical effects. Calibre’s simulation engine is used to generate images at wafer level using scanner optical conditions and mask-like contours as input. The tool then analyses simulated images and predicts defect printability. It automatically calculates maximum CD variation and decides which defects are severe to affect patterns on wafer. In this paper, we assess the printability of defects for the mask of advanced technology nodes. In particular, we will compare the recovered mask contours with contours extracted from SEM image of the mask and compare simulation results with AIMSTM for a variety of defects and patterns. The results of printability assessment and the accuracy of comparison are presented in this paper. We also suggest how this method can be extended to predict printability of defects identified on EUV photomasks.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Prakash Deep, Sankaranarayanan Paninjath, Mark Pereira, Peter Buck, "ILT based defect simulation of inspection images accurately predicts mask defect printability on wafer", Proc. SPIE 9984, Photomask Japan 2016: XXIII Symposium on Photomask and Next-Generation Lithography Mask Technology, 99840C (10 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2240117; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2240117

Back to Top