CD-SEMs are an indispensable part of semiconductor manufacturing. Extending their functionality beyond routine work on CD metrology of a layer is highly desirable. The etch process greatly depends on CDs and the pitch of a pattern. Through pitch patterns consisting of two layers, each with different CDs and side wall angles, are widely used to develop and characterize etch processes. TEMs are widely used to measure these values for each layer. This is a time consuming and expensive process, and the feedback time to process development is long. It would be highly desirable to develop metrology for two layers, including their side wall angles, using top down SEM images in order to reduce cost and provide a fast feedback to process development and characterization.
A technique was developed to measure top and bottom CDs of each layer, as well as side wall angles of the layers using SEM images. The model based myCD software was used as the basis for this development. Hundreds of SEM images were taken at multiple test pattern areas with variable pitch and dimensions. The extracted values included top and bottom CDs of the top layer, top and bottom CDs of the bottom layer, as well as side wall angles of both layers. The pitch was also extracted for verification. The results of CDs and SWA were very consistent.
The verification was done in two ways: a) by comparing myCD results to results from corresponding TEM images; and b) by analyzing the noise of the measured data. It is believed that the variation of CDs and SWAs on the through pitch pattern was consistent with the designed pattern layout and their variation from the design due to process variation should be smooth. Both verifications confirmed excellent results of metrology. In particular, the repeatability of SWA measurements from top down images was found to be 0.4 degrees, a 3-sigma variation. There is no other method to our knowledge to measure SWA from top down images.