As Argon Fluoride (ArF) lithography moves into high volume production, ArF light sources need to meet performance requirements beyond the traditional drivers of power and bandwidth. The first key requirement is a continuous decrease in Cost of Ownership (CoO) where the industry requirement is for reduction in ArF CoO in line with the historical cost reduction demonstrated for Krypton Fluoride (KrF) light sources. A second requirement is improved light source performance stability. As CD control requirements shrink, following the ITRS roadmap, all process parameters which affect CD variation need tighter control. In the case of the light source, these include improved control of bandwidth, pulse energy stability and wavelength. In particular, CD sensitivity to exposure dose has become a serious challenge for device processing and improvements to laser pulse energy stability can contribute to significantly better dose control.
To meet these performance challenges Cymer has designed a new dual chamber laser architecture. The Recirculating Ring design requires 10X less energy from the Master Oscillator (MO). This new configuration enables the MO chamber lifetime to reach that of the power amplifier chamber at around 30Bp. In addition, other optical modules in the system such as the line narrowing module experience lower light intensity, ensuring even longer optics lifetime. Furthermore, the Recirculating Ring configuration operates in much stronger saturation. MO energy instabilities are reduced by a factor of 9X when passed through the Ring. The output energy stability exhibits the characteristics of a fully saturated amplifier and pulse energy stability improvement of 1.5X is realized. This performance enables higher throughput scanner operation with enhanced dose control. The Recirculating Ring technology will be introduced on the XLR 500i, Cymer's fifth-generation dual chamber-based light source built on the production-proven XLA platform. This paper will describe the design details and performance characteristics of the new laser architecture.
Since the introduction of the XLA-100 in January 2003, we have built, tested, and shipped a large number of XLA-100 MOPA lasers to microlithography scanner manufacturers. Some systems have already been installed at chip fabrication lines. To ensure product design robustness, we have been performing a long-term system performance test of an XLA-100 laser at Cymer. In this paper, we will report optical performance of the XLA-100 we see during manufacturing final tests, and a summary of the long term testing.
Since the announcement in March 2002 of plans to develop an advanced light source to meet the future spectral power and cost requirements of photolithography, we have made significant progress in the development and productization of the core technology for an ultra line-narrowed, excimer light source based on a master oscillator-power amplifier (MOPA) approach. In this paper, we will focus on the architecture and performance of the first generation of production-ready, MOPA-based ArF light sources developed at Cymer, Inc. This first generation of MOPA-based ArF light sources is referred to as the XLA 100 product series.
Semiconductor chip manufacturing is on the verge of a new production process node driving critical feature sizes below 100 nm. The next generation of 193 nm Argon Fluoride laser, the NanoLith<SUP>TM</SUP> 7000, has been developed in response to this recent technology development in the lithography industry. The NanoLith<SUP>TM</SUP> 7000, offering 20 Watts average output power at 4 kHz repetition rate, is designed to support the highest exposure tool scan speeds for maximum productivity and wafer throughput. Technology improvements to support the move from pilot production to full production will be described. With core technology defined and performance to specification established, attention turns to cost of operation, which is closely tied to module lifetime and reliability. Here we present results of the NanoLith<SUP>TM</SUP> 7000 system lifetest tracking all optical performance data over a 4.4 Billion shot. The system is operated in firing modes ranging from 1-4 kHz, and up to 75% duty cycle. Overall system performance measured to date both in the lab and in the field suggests that this laser meets all the production requirements for 193 nm lithography.