The availability of metrology solutions, one of the critical factors to drive leading-edge semiconductor devices and processes, has been confronted with difficulties in advanced nodes. For developing new metrology solutions, high-quality test structures fabricated at specific sizes are needed. Electron-beam direct-write lithography has been utilized to manufacture such samples. However, it can encounter significant-resolution difficulties and may require complicated process optimization in sub-10-nm nodes. Therefore, we investigate the feasibility and patterning control of metrology test structures fabricated by helium ion beam (HIB) direct milling and HIB direct-write lithography, where HIB has the sub-nm resolution in nature. Results show that features down to 5 nm are resolvable without any resolution enhancement technique by HIB direct milling. For HIB direct-write lithography, features down to International Roadmap for Devices and Systems 1.5-nm node are also resolvable without optimization from the lithography simulation. Furthermore, patterns beyond the 1.5-nm node can be achievable with the help of the proximity effect correction technique. Preliminary results demonstrate that HIB direct milling and HIB direct-write lithography can be a promising alternative for fabricating pit-type programmed defects (PDs) and bump-type PDs, respectively. In conclusion, HIB is suggested to be a potential tool to fabricated test structures for developing advanced metrology solutions in sub-7-nm nodes.
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