Background: To ensure consistent and high-quality semiconductor production at future logic nodes, additional metrology tools are needed. For this purpose, grazing-incidence small-angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS) is being considered because measurements are fast with a proven capability to reconstruct average grating line profiles with high accuracy.
Aim: GISAXS measurements of grating line shapes should be extended to samples with pitches smaller than 50 nm and their defects. The method’s performance should be evaluated.
Approach: A series of gratings with 32-nm pitch and deliberately introduced pitchwalk is measured using GISAXS. The grating line profiles with associated uncertainties are reconstructed using a Maxwell solver and Markov-chain Monte Carlo sampling combined with a simulation library approach.
Results: The line shape and the pitchwalk are generally in agreement with previously published transmission small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) results. However, the line height and line width show deviations of ( 1.0 ± 0.2 ) nm and ( 2.0 ± 0.7 ) nm, respectively. The complex data evaluation leads to relatively high pitchwalk uncertainties between 0.5 and 2 nm.
Conclusions: GISAXS shows great potential as a metrology tool for small-pitch line gratings with complex line profiles. Faster simulation methods would enable more accurate results.