Extreme ultra-violet (EUV) lithography has become the technique of choice to print the ever-shrinking nanoscale features on the silicon wafer. For successful transfer of patterns on to the wafer, the EUV photomask cannot contain defects greater than 30 nm. Megasonic cleaning is a very successful cleaning technique for removal of particles on photomasks, but also causes a relatively high amount of damage to the fragile EUV photomasks thin film structures. Though it is believed that acoustic cavitation is the primary phenomenon responsible for cleaning as well as pattern damage, a fundamental picture of the acoustic cavitation mechanisms in play during megasonic cleaning has not yet clearly emerged. In this study, we characterize the role of acoustic cavitation in megasonic cleaning by examining the effects of acoustic power densities, cleaning solution properties, and dissolved gas content on cavitation via experiments and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. MD is an atomistic computation technique capable of modeling atomic-level and nanoscale processes accurately making it well suited to study the effect of cavitation on nano-sized particles and patterns.
Photomask lifetime has become a challenge since the introduction of high volume manufacturing 193nm photolithograph. Photomask lifetime is being impacted by a broad range of environmental and process factors resulting in inorganics crystals and organic contaminants formation as well as pellicle lifetime issues. Extensive work has been published on strategies for reduction of inorganic crystals photoinduced defects formation mainly focusing on photomask clean process improvements. This paper will focus on identifying root causes for photoinduced contaminants forming within the pellicle space area as well as identify environmental factors which have the potential of impacting pellicle membrane longevity. Outgasing experiments coupled with 193nm laser exposure tests were conducted to decouple and rank reticle/pellicle storage materials as well as pellicle outgasing contributors to photoinduced defects and identify factors impacting pellicle membrance longevity. Analytical test were conducted to compare the relative levels of reticle storage materials and pellicle outgasing contaminants. Experiments aimed at quantifying the fab environment contribution to photoinduced defects formation and impact on pellicle membrane lifetime will be discussed. Environmental conditions minimizing external contributing factors impacting photomask front side photoinduced defects formation and pellicle membrance longevity will be suggested.