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Proceedings Paper

Aerial-image-based off-focus inspection: lithography process window analysis during mask inspection
Author(s): Shirley Hemar; Reuven Falah; Anja Rosenbusch; Yuval Blumberg
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Paper Abstract

The industry roadmap for IC manufacturing at design rules of 90nm and below foresees low k1-factor optical lithography at 193nm exposure wavelength. Aggressive model-based OPC are being used more and more frequently in order to achieve the extremely tight mask CD specifications required by 90nm technology node. State-of-the-art mask inspection is challenged to detect CD defects close to metrology resolution. Inspection of OPC is critical; OPC feature dimensions are usually near or below the resolution limits of mask exposure. In addition, chrome defects can be semitransparent and change the intensity of light on the wafer. In this paper aerial-image based mask inspection is investigated and presented. The concept inspects a given mask based on its aerial image with selected wafer exposure conditions, thus “finds only defect which will print”. This paradigm shift in mask inspection philosophy provides the unique opportunities of verifying and controlling the entire aerial image generated by the inspected mask. As reticle enhancement techniques like OPC are designed to enhance the aerial image of a mask, this concept offers a comprehensive way of inspecting these techniques. The inspection is shifted from detecting every single minor change on mask to detecting what on mask could possibly impact the printing image quality on the wafer. In this paper an advanced application of aerial-image based mask inspection is discussed in more detail. As a standard, the Aera193 uses the best-focus aerial image for defect detection. From HNA mask inspection it is a well-known fact, that shifting the inspection off-focus, can provide a more sensitive detection. In the csase of aerial-image based inspection, going off-focus can be compared with lithography exposure out of focus. In other words, the lithography process window will be taken into account for defect detection. This methodology provides additional important information ·Understand process window printability of defects detected at best-focus ·Detect additional defects, which may print at the borders of the process window. This information is of extreme value for wafer lithography and may help by decisions about lithography process and mask usage. Focus of the paper is to analyze the application of aerial image-based off-focus inspection. Advanced OPC test plates are used to analyze detection at best and off-focus. The inspection results are compared to actual wafer results. Wafer lithography benefit is discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 December 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5256, 23rd Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology, (17 December 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.517815
Show Author Affiliations
Shirley Hemar, Applied Materials (Israel)
Reuven Falah, Applied Materials (Israel)
Anja Rosenbusch, Applied Materials (Israel)
Yuval Blumberg, Applied Materials (Israel)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5256:
23rd Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology
Kurt R. Kimmel; Wolfgang Staud, Editor(s)

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