Classical SEM metrology, CD-SEM, uses low data rate and extensive frame-averaging technique to achieve high-quality SEM imaging for high-precision metrology. The drawbacks include prolonged data collection time and larger photoresist shrinkage due to excess electron dosage. This paper will introduce a novel e-beam metrology system based on a high data rate, large probe current, and ultra-low noise electron optics design. At the same level of metrology precision, this high speed e-beam metrology system could significantly shorten data collection time and reduce electron dosage. In this work, the data collection speed is higher than 7,000 images per hr. Moreover, a novel large field of view (LFOV) capability at high resolution was enabled by an advanced electron deflection system design. The area coverage by LFOV is >100x larger than classical SEM. Superior metrology precision throughout the whole image has been achieved, and high quality metrology data could be extracted from full field. This new capability on metrology will further improve metrology data collection speed to support the need for large volume of metrology data from OPC model calibration of next generation technology. The shrinking EPE (Edge Placement Error) budget places more stringent requirement on OPC model accuracy, which is increasingly limited by metrology errors. In the current practice of metrology data collection and data processing to model calibration flow, CD-SEM throughput becomes a bottleneck that limits the amount of metrology measurements available for OPC model calibration, impacting pattern coverage and model accuracy especially for 2D pattern prediction. To address the trade-off in metrology sampling and model accuracy constrained by the cycle time requirement, this paper employs the high speed e-beam metrology system and a new computational software solution to take full advantage of the large volume data and significantly reduce both systematic and random metrology errors. The new computational software enables users to generate large quantity of highly accurate EP (Edge Placement) gauges and significantly improve design pattern coverage with up to 5X gain in model prediction accuracy on complex 2D patterns. Overall, this work showed >2x improvement in OPC model accuracy at a faster model turn-around time.
In this paper, we present the approach and results of layer-aware source mask target optimization. In this approach, the design target is co-optimized during source mask optimization (SMO) by considering inter-layer constraints. We tested the method on a 2x nm node metal layer by using both standard and customized cost functions for source optimization. Variable targets were defined for two process window limiting critical pattern cells, with contact-to-metal and metal-tovia coverage rules taken into consideration. The results indicate that layer-aware source mask target optimization gives consistent process window improvement over conventional SMO. The optimized targets prove to be a good balance between lithography process window and post-etch inter-layer coverage margin.
As the minimum feature size shrinks down, i.e. low K1 lithography regime, the tool’s lens aberration sensitivity and user defined illumination imperfection might play a major role in patterning error. Thus, the study of impact from lens aberration and illumination on patterning is required for good tool maintenance and yield improvement. For this purpose, we collected many cases of abnormal patterning result from production line and then simulated in terms of actual lens aberration and illumination source data. LITEL products of ISI(In-situ Interferometer) and SMI(Source Metrology Interferometer) were used for characterizing lens and illumination source. Moreover, the ACE(Analysis and Characteristic Engine) of LITEL development product was used as the simulator.
In this work, deformation of pattern fidelity, for example, CD asymmetry in word line and metal contact layer, pattern bending in isolation layer and also decreasing process window in bit line layer will be discussed with experimental and simulation data. Finally, we are able to make a guideline for preventing abnormal phenomenon. From this study, we can understand which lens aberration terms and illumination imperfection take an effect of abnormal pattering result.
As technology pushes feature dimensions smaller, the effect of lens aberrations becomes more relevant. Therefore, it has become important that we completely understand the effects lens aberrations have on our product feature patterning. It also becomes important that we have a tool and a process that can accurately describe and measure the aberrations in our exposure systems. With our lens systems characterized and through use of a lithographic simulator, we can predict pattern placement, critical dimensions and intra-field overlay errors. It is the inclusion of aberration information in the simulator that has allowed us to predict across field placement and critical dimension effects on features in our designs. This paper looks at the use of an In-Situ Interferometer for measuring lens aberrations and characterizing the exposure systems for use in a lithographic simulator. The aberration data was used in conjunction with a simulator to predict pattern placement, critical dimension and intra-field overlay. Simulated overlay was compared to inline product overlay to investigate the accuracy of the aberration measurement tool and process. This paper extends work previously described to validate the simulation process for the 170nm technology node with multiple layer combinations investigated.