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23 September 2009 High MEEF reticle inspection strategy
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Reticle defectivity has been a widely discussed topic in the last few years primarily due to ongoing haze issues but also because of the increasing number of the qualification methods available in the fab. Mask shops are taking a closer look at the alternatives to the direct reticle inspection [1], making a step towards wafer inspection as a valid option for reticle qualification. High MEEF patterns represent the most interesting and challenging case study due to potentially comparable sensitivity performance of the wafer inspection and reticle inspection tools as reported in [2]. A reticle with programmed defects in different environments was used to define detection limits, capture rates and noise levels for both direct reticle inspection and the inspection of the wafer print. Reticle inspection was performed using KLA587 tool. For the inspection of the wafer prints two most advanced DUV inspection tools were used. Defect sizes were defined on the reticle and on the wafer using SEM CD tools. The focus of this study was to identify gaps and opportunities existing in the reticle qualification chain starting with the outgoing qualification at the mask shop and continuing during the reticle lifetime in the fab. Results and conclusions of this investigation will be presented and discussed in conjunction with the prospects and possible modifications of pursued approach for 45nm and the future nodes.
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Anna Tchikoulaeva, Remo Kirsch, and Stephanie Winkelmeier "High MEEF reticle inspection strategy", Proc. SPIE 7488, Photomask Technology 2009, 74880D (23 September 2009);

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