An advanced catadioptric projection optics installed on state-of-the-art flat panel exposure tool is introduced. Both scaling up and aspheric lenses added to the conventional two-mirror optics have enlarged off-axis good imaging field, and contributed to increase the productivity of the machine. This paper discusses the optical characteristics of the advanced optics, and refers to its contribution to the performance of a large flat panel display (FPD) exposure tool. Additionally, not only the fabrication technology of large optical parts in the projection optics but also illumination optical system and mask /plate alignment system in the exposure tool are also disclosed.
157 nm lithography has made further progress over the past year, steadily advancing towards the realization of the 65 nm era. In particular, exposure tools have moved on to the assembly phase, with new functions and performance now under evaluation. This paper presents our technical progress in our 157nm full field exposure tool, focusing on two key technologies: projection optics and environmental control with highly purified gasses. The high NA projection optics were designed to meet accelerating demands for smaller geometries. A catadioptric system with a line-selected laser was chosen to solve the problem of chromatic aberrations. The birefringence effect caused by CaF2 has been reduced to acceptable levels by clocking and combining <111> and <100> oriented crystals. Polishing and optical coatings consisting of glass materials were completed at targeted accuracy. At the present time, assembly and tuning of the projection optics is being performed. A simulation based on the inspection data from each production step predicts that the desired image performance will be attained. The total efficiency of the exposure system is expected to be higher than previously announced, due to the improvement of both CaF2 transmittance and AR/HR coatings. One of two keys issues in environmental control is to purge the projection optics which are permanently sealed. Purging performance was tested using a mockup of the projection optics. The second issue is to purge the areas around reticles and wafers which are continually carried into and out of the exposure system. Using the actual platform, the wafer and reticle purging performance was evaluated. It has been demonstrated that both of our purging systems are effective in keeping the environment at minimum contamination levels. This contributes to the increase of throughput.
Two key technologies of 157nm exposure tools are projection optics and the environment control with highly purified gasses. For the projection optics, the NA is required to be extremely high even from the beginning to meet the accelerated ITRS roadmap, while compensating for the chromatic aberration issues with a line selected laser. In addition, the NIST has raised an issue of intrinsic birefi-ingence with the CaF2 materials, which has serious effects on the image quality if left uncorrected. We have found answers to suppress the intrinsic birefringence effects in the practical sense for the newly designed high NA system. One solution is to optimize the combination of the rotational positions of [1 11] crystals used for the projection optics, and to combine some  crystals with [1 11] crystals. Looking at the environmental control issue, there are two points. One is the purging of the constantly-sealed projection optics. We have experimented on the components in the projection optics, and have achieved the purging target for them. The second point is the purging around the reticle and the wafer both of which are continually carried in and out. We have got a practical solution, partial purge system, through simulations and basic experiments using a mock-up. The partial purge mechanism is effective in keeping the environment at high purity, capable of assuring the target purging level. It can also solve the problem of lens contamination due to outgas from the resist.
We developed subhalf micron steppers, the FPA-2500i2 and the FPA-2500i3 (abbreviated here as i2 and i3, respectively), suitable to 16 M and 64 M DRAM processes. These new steppers incorporate high sensitivity reticle particle monitors (RPM) in order to increase chip yield. In this report, first the steppers' basic performance is demonstrated. Secondly, the printability of particles and its influence on circuit patterns are quantified by simulations and experiments. Thirdly, the RPM's detection principle is discussed theoretically, and finally the experimental results are shown.