High-throughput actinic mask inspection tools are needed as EUVL begins to enter into volume production phase. One of the key technologies to realize such inspection tools is a high-radiance EUV source of which radiance is supposed to be as high as 100 W/mm<sup>2</sup>/sr. Ushio is developing laser-assisted discharge-produced plasma (LDP) sources. Ushio’s LDP source is able to provide sufficient radiance as well as cleanliness, stability and reliability. Radiance behind the debris mitigation system was confirmed to be 120 W/mm<sup>2</sup>/sr at 9 kHz and peak radiance at the plasma was increased to over 200 W/mm<sup>2</sup>/sr in the recent development which supports high-throughput, high-precision mask inspection in the current and future technology nodes. One of the unique features of Ushio’s LDP source is cleanliness. Cleanliness evaluation using both grazing-incidence Ru mirrors and normal-incidence Mo/Si mirrors showed no considerable damage to the mirrors other than smooth sputtering of the surface at the pace of a few nm per Gpulse. In order to prove the system reliability, several long-term tests were performed. Data recorded during the tests was analyzed to assess two-dimensional radiance stability. In addition, several operating parameters were monitored to figure out which contributes to the radiance stability.
The latest model that features a large opening angle was recently developed so that the tool can utilize a large number of debris-free photons behind the debris shield. The model was designed both for beam line application and high-throughput mask inspection application. At the time of publication, the first product is supposed to be in use at the customer site.
High-throughput and -resolution actinic mask inspection tools are needed as EUVL begins to enter into volume production phase. To realize such inspection tools, a high-radiance EUV source is necessary. Ushio’s laser-assisted discharge-produced plasma (LDP) source is able to meet industry’s requirements in radiance, cleanliness, stability and reliability. Ushio’s LDP source has shown the peak radiance at plasma of 180 W/mm<sup>2</sup>/sr and the area-averaged radiance in a 200-μm-diameter circle behind the debris mitigation system of 120 W/mm<sup>2</sup>/sr. A new version of the debris mitigation system is in testing phase. Its optical transmission was confirmed to be 73 %, which is 4 % lower than that of the previous version and therefore will be improved. Cleanliness of the system is evaluated by exposing Ru mirrors placed behind the debris mitigation system. Ru sputter rate was proven to be sufficiently low as 3~5 nm/Gpulse at 7 kHz, whereas frequency-dependent sputter rate was 1~3 nm/Gpulse at 5~9 kHz as previously reported. Sn deposition remained very low (< 0.05 nm) and did not grow over time. A new technique to suppress debris was tested and preliminary results were promising. Time-of-flight signal of fast ions was completely suppressed and Ru sputter rate of exposed mirrors at 3 kHz was approximately 1.3 nm/Gpulse, whereas the conventional mitigation system (new version) resulted in Ru sputter rate of 0.7 nm/Gpulse. This new technique also allows increasing the radiance efficiency by 30 %. Stability tests were done at several different discharge frequencies. Pulse energy stability was approximately 10 %. Dose energy stability dropped from approximately 2 % to 0.1 % when feedback control was activated. EUV emission position stability was studied at 3 kHz. Deviation of the plasma center of gravity was 6 μm, which is 3 % of plasma diameter and therefore considered to be negligible. Reliability tests were performed on both R and D and prototype machines and up to 200 hours of non-interrupted operation was demonstrated.
Actinic mask inspection manufactures are currently searching for high-radiance EUV sources for their tools. LDP source, which was previously used for lithography purposes, was found to be a good candidate as it can provide sufficient power and radiance. Introduction of new techniques, modified modules and fine tuning of operational conditions (discharge pulse energy, discharge frequency, laser) has brought radiance level to 180 W/mm<sup>2</sup>/sr at plasma or 145 W/mm<sup>2</sup>/sr as clean-photon. The source has been modified in such a way to improve modules reliability, lifetime and radiance stability even though there is still a room for further improvement. Size of the source system is much smaller than that of the lithography source. A debris mitigation system has been tested. Optical transmission was improved to 77 % and several 8-nm-thick Ru samples were exposed to evaluate contamination and erosion of optics. Preliminary results show low sputter and deposition rates, which supports sufficiently long lifetime of the optics.