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Proceedings Paper

Recent developments in atomic-force microscopy applicable to integrated circuit metrology
Author(s): Mark R. Rodgers; Frank D. Yashar
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Paper Abstract

The atomic force microscope (AFM) has become a fairly common tool in IC research centers over the past year. Nondestructive imaging with nanometer resolution in ambient conditions is proving to have a wide range of uses. Furthermore, during this same period important advances have been made in scanning probe microscopy, particularly relating to atomic force sensors. AFM technology now has reached the point where it has practical applicability to IC manufacture as well as research. These new advances include: large sample (full wafer) capability, probe tips capable of measuring sidewalls as steep as 10 degrees from the vertical, frictional force measurements, zoom capability from 100 microns to angstroms, highly accurate lateral dimensioning, and noncontact topography measurements. Nanometer-scale with true three-dimensional measurement capability can now be applied to production IC devices and process hardware. Several of these new capabilities are commercially available. Some uses and applications in the semiconductor field are: high resolution imaging, surface roughness measurement of deposited layers and polishing techniques, defect imaging, phase- shift mask development, grain size measurement, gate integrity, and deposited layer integrity over lines. A variety of results are presented including both standard metrology data acquired with AFMs as well as unusual data that cannot be obtained with other techniques. Features with accurate sidewall rendering are demonstrated which clearly shows that previous AFM limitations of sidewall imaging have been overcome. Photomask characterization including phase-shift masks are presented, and unique data showing frictional force distributions are discussed. The evolution of the AFM has been very rapid, and the current state of the instrument should provide solutions to many of the problems facing IC metrologists.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1992
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 1673, Integrated Circuit Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control VI, (1 June 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.59812
Show Author Affiliations
Mark R. Rodgers, Digital Instruments, Inc. (United States)
Frank D. Yashar, Digital Instruments, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1673:
Integrated Circuit Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control VI
Michael T. Postek, Editor(s)

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