Alternating phase shift mask (APSM) techniques help bridge the significant gap between the lithography wavelength and the patterning of minimum features, specifically, the poly line of 35 nm gate length (1x) in Intel's 65 nm technology. One of key steps in making APSM mask is to pattern to within the design tolerances the 2nd level resist so that the zero-phase apertures will be protected by the resist and the pi-phase apertures will be wide open for quartz etch. The ability to align the 2nd level to the 1st level binary pattern, i.e. the 2nd level overlay capability is very important, so is the capability of measuring the overlay accurately. Poor overlay could cause so-called the encroachment after quartz etch, producing undesired quartz bumps in the pi-apertures or quartz pits in the zero-apertures. In this paper, a simple, low-cost optical setup for the 2nd level DC (develop check) overlay measurements in the high volume manufacturing (HVM) of APSM masks is presented. By removing systematic errors in overlay associated with TIS and MIS (tool-induced shift and Mask-process induced shift), it is shown that this setup is capable of supporting the measurement of DC overlay with a tolerance as small as +/- 25 nm. The outstanding issues, such as DC overlay error component analysis, DC - FC (final check) overlay correlation and the overlay linearity (periphery vs. indie), are discussed.
SLM-based DUV laser writers are gaining acceptance for 2nd level PSM and binary mask patterning. These writers can use an e-beam compatible resist enabling tool and process sharing. For binary mask patterning, critical metrics include: critical dimension uniformity (CDU), CD targeting, mask registration, defect performance and inspectability. For PSM applications, pattern fidelity matching to 1st level and PSM overlay are also important. A Sigma7300 is being integrated into 65nm and 45nm production. Binary and PSM mask performance data will be presented. Tool self metrics to characterize SLM health will also be presented. Data conversion, data preparation and production write times will be discussed.
Phase shift mask (PSM) applications are becoming essential for addressing the lithography requirements of the 65 nm technology node and beyond. Many mask writer properties must be under control to expose the second level of advanced PSM: second level alignment system accuracy, resolution, pattern fidelity, critical dimension (CD) uniformity and registration. Optical mask writers have the advantage of process simplicity for this application, as they do not require a discharge layer. This paper discusses how the mask writer properties affect the error budget for printing the second level. A deep ultraviolet (DUV) mask writer with a spatial light modulator (SLM) is used in the experimental part of the paper. Partially coherent imaging optics at the 248 nm wavelength provide improved resolution over previous systems, and pattern fidelity is optimized by a real-time corner enhancement function. Lithographic performance is compared to the requirements for second level exposure of advanced PSM. The results indicate sufficient capability and stability for 2nd level alternating PSM patterning at the 65 nm and 45 nm nodes.