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Proceedings Paper

Evaluating SEM performance from the contrast transfer function
Author(s): David C. Joy; Joseph Michael; Brendan Griffin
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Paper Abstract

Although Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) have improved greatly over the last decade the techniques usually employed to measure their performance have not changed significantly in half a century. In particular, describing the imaging performance of an SEM by a single number - its 'resolution' - provides no useful information about its real world imaging capabilities nor about any of the factors that might limit that usefulness of the SEM for tasks such as metrology. The Contrast Transfer Function (CTF) discussed here analyses the way in which the SEM processes signal components of different spatial frequencies. The resultant plot provides information on the noise limited spatial resolution limit, predicts how this will vary with noise level, and provides a powerful general diagnostic capability. This type of measurement, which has become standard practice for transmission electron microscopes, can be performed using the public domain software package IMAGE-J, is rapid, and requires only a specimen offering a broad and flat Fourier spectrum. The capabilities of this approach are demonstrated by a number of examples.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 April 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7638, Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXIV, 76383J (15 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.846455
Show Author Affiliations
David C. Joy, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
The Univ. of Tennessee (United States)
Joseph Michael, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Brendan Griffin, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Univ. of Western Australia (Australia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7638:
Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXIV
Christopher J. Raymond, Editor(s)

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