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Proceedings Paper

An objective image focus for CD-SEM
Author(s): Huichai Zhang; Christopher Gould; Bill Roberts; Matthew McQuillan
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Paper Abstract

In lithography and etch processing, the control inputs (dose or gas flow, etc) use the critical dimension measurements from CDSEM as feedback and/or feed forward parameters. Thus the image quality of the metrology tools is critical for controlling litho and etches processes. With wafer size increasing while CD and features shrinking, even tighter controls on CD are required. It has been shown in literature that during 24 hour period, the beam alignment can drift severely enough to cause a shift of over 10 nm in the measured CD. Though auto focus tuning is provided on some CDSEMs, our tests show that, depending on the focus algorithm used, the insitu autofocus may shift from the best focus. In practice, the tuning of CDSEM settings largely depends on the operator's "eyeball" judgments, thus the quality of the SEM images is dependent on the judgment of the operators. In this paper, we propose an objective and quantitative image quality monitor for focus monitor based on image processing and optimization. For focus monitor and optimization, a series of through-focus images are taken for a CDSEM tool. By processing the images using image processing toolbox in Matlab, an IFQ (image focus quality) score, used to quantify the image focus quality, is assigned to each image. The fitting of this data to a predefined polynomial can be used to determine best focus. The algorithm is robust and fast, and has been integrated into the existing manufacturing infrastructure for tool performance tracking and monitoring. The paper is organized as following: In the introduction, some background information on CDSEM, as well as existing and alternative image quality monitoring methods are reviewed. In the second part, we introduce the methodology and steps for the new focus monitor. The third part covers the experiments for CDSEM parameter optimization, robustness tests and validation. The next part explains the implementation of the focus monitor in manufacturing environment. In summary, the proposed method for focus monitor is fast, robust and manufacturability.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 April 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6922, Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXII, 692226 (16 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.772788
Show Author Affiliations
Huichai Zhang, Qimonda North America (United States)
Christopher Gould, Qimonda North America (United States)
Bill Roberts, Qimonda North America (United States)
Matthew McQuillan, Qimonda North America (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6922:
Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXII
John A. Allgair; Christopher J. Raymond, Editor(s)

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