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Proceedings Paper

Quantifying imaging performance bounds of extreme dipole illumination in high NA optical lithography
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Paper Abstract

We present a framework to analyze the performance of optical imaging in a hyper numerical aperture (NA) immersion lithography scanner. We investigate the method to quantify imaging performance by computing upperand lower-bounds on the threshold normalized image log-slope (NILS) and the depth of focus (DOF) in conjunction with the traditional image quality metrics such as the mask error enhancement factor (MEEF) and the linearity for various different pitches and line to space (LS) duty cycles. The effects of the interaction between the light illumination and the feature size are extensively characterized based on the aerial image (AI) behavior in particular for the extreme dipole illumination that is one of the commonly used off-axis illuminations for sub-100nm logic and memory devices, providing resolution near the physical limit of an optical single patterning step. The proposed aerial imaging-based DOF bounds are compared to the results obtained from an experimentally calibrated resist model, and we observed good agreement. In general, the extreme dipole illumination is only optimal for a single particular pitch, therefore understanding the through-pitch imaging performance bound, which depends on the illumination shape, pattern size, and process conditions, is critically important. We find that overall imaging performance varies depending upon the number of diffracted beams passing through the scanner optics. An even number of beams provides very different trends compared to the results from an odd-number of beams. This significant non-linear behavior occurs in certain pitch regions corresponding to 3 beam interference imaging. In this region the imaging performance and the pattern printability become extremely sensitive to the LS duty cycle. In addition, there is a notable tradeoff between the DOF and the NILS that is observed in the problematic 3-beam region and this tradeoff eventually affects the achievable process window (PW). Given the practical real world constraints such as the design rules and target design restrictions, computing upper- and lower-bounds of the through-pitch DOF and NILS will be especially useful for both lithographers and metrology target designers in understanding this complex behavior, as well as helping in the design of optimal targets used for applications including alignment, overlay control, and process control in high volume semiconductor manufacturing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 October 2016
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 9985, Photomask Technology 2016, 99850X (3 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2240904
Show Author Affiliations
Myungjun Lee, KLA-Tencor Corp. (United States)
Mark D. Smith, KLA-Tencor Corp. (United States)
John Biafore, KLA-Tencor Corp. (United States)
Trey Graves, KLA-Tencor Corp. (United States)
Ady Levy, KLA-Tencor Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9985:
Photomask Technology 2016
Bryan S. Kasprowicz; Peter D. Buck, Editor(s)

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