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Proceedings Paper

Image library approach to evaluating parametric uncertainty in metrology of isolated feature width
Author(s): James Potzick
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Paper Abstract

When measuring the width of an isolated line or space on a wafer or photomask, only the feature's image is measured, not the object itself. Often the largest contributors to measurement uncertainty are the uncertainties in the parameters which affect the image. Measurement repeatability is often smaller than the combined parametric uncertainty. An isolated feature's edges are far enough away from nearest edges of other features that its image does not change if this distance is increased (about 10 wavelengths in an optical microscope or exposure tool, or several effective-beam-widths in a SEM). When the leading and trailing edges of the same feature are not isolated from each other the metrology process becomes nonlinear. Isolated features may not be amenable to measurement by grating methods (e.g., scatterometry), and there is no hard lower limit to how small an isolated feature can be measured. There are several ways to infer the size of an isolated feature from its image in a microscope (SEM, AFM, optical,...), and they all require image modeling. Image modeling accounts for the influence of all of the parameters which can affect the image, and relates the apparent linewidth (in the image) to the true linewidth (on the object). The values of these parameters, however, have uncertainties and these uncertainties propagate through the model and lead to parametric uncertainty in the linewidth measurement, along with the scale factor uncertainty and the measurement repeatability. The combined measurement uncertainty is required in order to decide if the result is adequate for its intended purpose and to ascertain if it is consistent with other similar results. The parametric uncertainty for optical photomask measurements derived using an edge threshold approach has been described previously [1]; this paper describes an image library approach to this issue and shows results for optical photomask metrology over a linewidth and spacewidth range of 10 nm to 4 μm. The principles will be described, the 1-dimensional image library used and the method of comparing images, along with a simple interpolation method, will be explained, and results presented. This method is easily extended to any kind of imaging microscope and to p dimensions, where p is the number of imaging parameters used. It is more general than the edge threshold method and leads to markedly different results for features smaller than a wavelength.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 March 2009
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7272, Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXIII, 727218 (23 March 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.815363
Show Author Affiliations
James Potzick, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7272:
Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXIII
John A. Allgair; Christopher J. Raymond, Editor(s)

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