EUV Infrastructure: EUV photomask backside cleaning
Applied Materials as first author: Bruce J. Fender, Dusty Leonhard, Hugo Breuer, Jack Stoof
ASML: My Phung Van, Rudy Pellens, Reinout Dekkers, Jan Pieter Kuijten
Due to electrostatic chucking of the backside of EUV masks, backside cleanliness in EUV lithography is an important factor. Contamination on the backside can cause damage to reticle (e-chuck), cross-contaminate to the scanner or cause local distortions in the reticle. Cleaning of the masks offers a solution to reduce the defectivity level on reticles. However, repeated cleaning on masks is known to have an impact on absorber, CD and reflectivity. Ideally, cleaning should occur without any alterations to the critical features on the front side of the mask. With the introduction of pellicles for EUV, there could be an additional drive for backside-only cleaning.
In this work the GuardianTM Technology is introduced that enables backside cleaning without any cleaning impact on the reticle front side through a protective seal at the outer edge of the mask. The seal protects the front side during the backside clean. The cleaning process encompasses a single-sided pre-clean oxygen plasma treatment of the mask surface, followed by sonic cleaning, and ending with a rinse and dry step. Separating the mask backside from front side enables:
• Backside cleaning without any cleaning impact on features on the mask front side.
• The isolation allows an aggressive cleaning of the backside to ensure defect removal.
• Processing of reticle with studs on the front side. This prevents unnecessary actions of stud removal and removal of the remaining glue after stud removal and subsequent gluing of the studs after cleaning.
Just before chucking of a reticle, the defectivity level on the mask is initially inspected with an in-scanner reticle backside inspection tool. The GuardianTM cleaning process is able to remove the vast majority of the cleanable defects that could impact scanner performance. Post GuardianTM clean interferometric microscope defect review reveals the remaining defects > 25-μm-PSL are ~78% are indent/damage and 11% are defects with insignificant height to impact scanner performance or cleanliness.
The cleaning requirements for EUV masks are more complex than optical masks due to the absence of available EUVcompatible pellicles. EUV masks must therefore be capable of undergoing more than 100 cleaning cycles with minimum impact to lithographic performance. EUV masks are created on substrates with 40 multilayers of silicon and molybdenum to form a Bragg reflector, capped with a 2.5nm-thick ruthenium layer and a tantalum-based absorber; during usage, both ruthenium and absorber are exposed to the cleaning process. The CrN layer on the backside is used to enable electrostatic clamping. This clamp side must also be free of particles that could impact printing and overlay, and particles could also potentially migrate to the frontside and create defects. Thus, the cleaning process must provide decent particle removal efficiencies on both front- and backside while maintaining reflectivity with minimal surface roughness change. In this paper, we report progress developing a concurrent patterned-side and clamped-side cleaning process that achieves minimal reflectivity change over 120 cleaning cycles, with XPS and EDS indicating the presence of ruthenium after 125 cleaning cycles. The change in surface roughness over 100 cleaning cycles is within the noise (0.0086nm) on a mask blank, and SEM inspection of 100nm and 200nm features on patterned masks after undergoing 100 cleaning cycles show no indications of ruthenium pitting or significant surface damage. This process was used on test masks to remove particles from both sides that would otherwise inhibit these masks from being used in the scanner.