In advanced semiconductor processing, shrinking CD is one of the main objectives when moving to the next generation technology. Improving CD uniformity (CDU) with shrinking CD is one of the biggest challenges. From ArF lithography CD error budget analysis, PEB (post exposure bake) contributes more than 40% CD variations. It turns out that hot plate performance such as CD matching and within-plate temperature control play key roles in litho cell wafer per hour (WPH). Traditionally wired or wireless thermal sensor wafers were used to match and optimize hot plates. However, sensor-to-sensor matching and sensor data quality vs. sensor lifetime or sensor thermal history are still unknown. These concerns make sensor wafers more suitable for coarse mean-temperature adjustment. For precise temperature adjustment, especially within-hot-plate temperature uniformity, using CD instead of sensor wafer temperature is a better and more straightforward metrology to calibrate hot plates. In this study, we evaluated TEL clean track integrated optical CD metrology (IM) combined with TEL CD Optimizer (CDO) software to improve 193-nm resist within-wafer and wafer-to-wafer CD uniformity. Within-wafer CD uniformity is mainly affected by the temperature non-uniformity on the PEB hot plate. Based on CD and PEB sensitivity of photo resists, a physical model has been established to control the CD uniformity through fine-tuning PEB temperature settings. CD data collected by track integrated CD metrology was fed into this model, and the adjustment of PEB setting was calculated and executed through track internal APC system. This auto measurement, auto feed forward, auto calibration and auto adjustment system can reduce the engineer key-in error and improve the hot plate calibration cycle time. And this PEB auto calibration system can easily bring hot-plate-to-hot-plate CD matching to within 0.5nm and within-wafer CDU (3σ) to less than 1.5nm.
CD-SEM and scatterometry are two of the top candidates for CD metrology in 90 nm node. In this study, Optical Digital Profilometry (ODP) based scatterometry was used to evaluate four topics: CD SEM and ODP process resolution comparison, ODP duty ratio limitation study, Poly AEI undercut sensitivity, STI ODP to TEM profile and trench depth matching. The scatterometry results were compared to CD-SEM and TEM results to develop the correlation of different metrology techniques. Scatterometry is able to provide robust uniformity measurement with additional information compared to CD-SEM. The additional information included sidewall angle, photoresist thickness, A°RC layer thickness, and under-layer film thickness. Actual data showed that this extra information was essential to trouble shoot the CD uniformity issue, separate the scanner, track, and thin film deposition impact on final CD uniformity. Scatterometry can be used not only as a metrology tool to measure CD uniformity, but also a useful analytical tool to find out the cause of CD non-uniformity. In small FEM study, scatterometry demonstrated its high resolution and precision. It can clearly identify the CD shift of less than 0.5 nm with exposure energy shift of 0.1mJ. This high resolution enabled a clearer definition of process window, and monitoring of small process shift in the actual production. From the experimental results, current optical tool with ODP technology was well qualified for duty ratio > 30 iso line measurement, detecting Poly undercut, STI profile and depth TEM matching.
ArF resist lines are tested using scatterometry to study the CD correlation with CDSEM, profile variation caused by baking temperature and pattern environment, as well as the evaluation of optical proximity effect (OPE). Results show reasonable profiles variation predicted by scatterometry spectra from different baking temperatures. Other good matches are the predicted resist line profiles from dark-field and clear-field pattern environment and various line-pitch ratios. They are found to be very similar with the images from the cross-section SEM. On the other hand, the CD linearity and OPE are also found with good matches between scatterometry CD and SEM CD. However, the maximum pitch size tested for OPE is 0.6 μm. More sparse patterns aer believed to have lower sensitivity caused by the weak characteristics spectrum detected. The spectrum sensitivity is another important topic in this paper. The CD and pitch information is contained across the entire spectrum while small profile variations, like t-top and footing, are predicted in the shorter wavelength region. To predict accurate resist profile for small CD, the usage of the shorter wavelength spectrum is inevitable.
With the progress of deep sub-micron semiconductor technology, metrology becomes more critical for plasma etch process development and characterization. Small feature line width, height/depth, and sidewall profile are all important parameters to characterize. The difficulty of accurately and efficiently measure these parameters has become a big challenge to the current metrology tools. Atomic force microscope (AFM) is an attractive alternative metrology tool to meet these challenges in plasma etch process characterization. A Veeco Dektak SXM atomic force microscope is used in this study and several AFM applications in plasma etch process characterization are developed. In shallow trench isolation trench etch process, AFM is used for etch uniformity, etch microloading, and trench profile characterization down to 0.200 micrometer trench geometry. In gate etch process, AFM is used for gate critical dimension (CD) measurement and gate etch profile measurement. The results correspond well with the normal metrology approach. The applications of AFM in local interconnect etch and metal etch are also discussed.