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6 October 2009 Theoretical foundations of die-to-model inspection
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Advanced immersion lithography is enabled by a combination of optimized off-axis illumination, highly complex design patterns, and photo-mask technologies with several transmission and phase levels. The pattern on the mask, for 45nm half pitch and below, shows little resemblance to the target printed pattern, which is revealed only when illuminated with the correct aerial exposure conditions. The main pattern is modified or surrounded by OPC and SRAF features which are comparatively much smaller. The small size and irregularity of these features present a challenge to mask inspection process, both due to their size and the mask manufacturing process sensitivity. While most masks are inspected using a die-to-die scheme, single-die masks use an alternative detection scheme based on comparing the mask image to mask design data. In high-resolution inspection tools, the resolution must be sufficient to resolve the sub-resolution features, and compare them to the mask design. In aerial inspection tools, which have optics that mimic the illumination and collection exposure conditions over the mask as in a scanner, the inspection image depicts the mask at the scanner resolution. As a consequence, in the aerial image, as in the scanner, sub-resolution features are not resolved and do not develop. Therefore, a conventional comparison to a database is not possible. Here, we present a single die detection scheme that takes a new approach - an optical model is calculated from the mask design information, based on an optical modeling of the inspection optics response. The result is an aerial model image, which predicts the aerial image created by the inspection tool, and may be directly compared to the real image captured by the inspection machine. We describe herein the theoretical foundation of the Die-to-Model scheme, and the practical computational implementation. As a consequence of the high quality modeling, the detection scheme employed for single die inspection performance is identical to the die-to-die scheme,. This new die to model scheme, implemented on the Aera2 aerial mask inspection tool is successfully implemented in 4x memory and 32nm generation logic mask production at leading mask shops.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Lev Faivishevsky, Sergey Khristo, Ishai Schwarzband, and Shmoolik Mangan "Theoretical foundations of die-to-model inspection", Proc. SPIE 7488, Photomask Technology 2009, 74882U (6 October 2009);

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