Iris Mäge & Uwe Seifert, Qimonda AG, Dresden; Barry Saville & Martin Tuckermann, KLA-Tencor GmbH, Dresden
With the introduction of sub-100nm design rules, and especially 193nm photolithography, the development of new monitoring strategies is becoming increasingly important and necessary as new materials, new tools and new process challenges are introduced. Micro after-develop inspection (µADI) is a big step forward for photolithography defect monitoring as well as for integrated process learning.
Resist quality and handling are essential for the whole process. The new 193nm resists exhibit an inherent defectivity, which is solely attributable to the quality of the resist. This defectivity comes from very small resist inhomogeneity, and leads to tiny bridging and stringer defects, which can affect yield critically. Additionally, the entire lithography process (handling and scanning) is more critical, as process windows are decreasing to levels of common positioning accuracy and layer thicknesses.
On the one hand, increased inspection sensitivity is needed to control the resist quality more tightly. With straightforward improvements to inspection technology, these sensitivity requirements can be met on test wafers, mainly because of the wafers’ simplified structures and the absence of noise sources. However, on the other hand, there is a demand for a monitoring strategy which uses product wafers to enable the understanding of the interaction of material, structure, topography and shrinking process window. Test wafer monitoring is able to provide only an isolated snap shot of a specific work-step without further interaction. An integrated monitoring strategy of product wafers requires more advanced and innovative inspection technologies – providing both enhanced sensitivity and superior noise suppression – as lithography layers can show a lot of non-yield relevant etch mask defects that are very hard to suppress with common inspection techniques.
This work introduces a novel after-lithography monitoring strategy based on a darkfield defect inspection technique on product wafers. Wafers can be scanned after development with superior noise suppression at resolutions approximating traditional brightfield inspection capabilities enabling lithography defect detection down to single line short levels. Thus, completely new inspection approaches for tool and line monitoring can be developed, sample plans can be optimized, and time to results and appropriate corrective actions can be significantly shortened.