J. Micro/Nanolithogr. MEMS MOEMS

Dose-focus monitor technique using a critical-dimension scanning electron microscope and its application to local variation analysis

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A dose-focus monitoring technique using a critical-dimension scanning electron microscope (CD-SEM) is studied for applications on product wafers. Our technique uses two target structures: one is a dense grating structure for dose determination, and the other is a relatively isolated line grating for focus determination. These targets are less than 6 μm, and they can be inserted across a product chip to monitor dose and focus variation in a chip. Monitoring precision is estimated to be on the order of 1% for dose and 10 nm for focus, and the technique can be applied to dose and focus monitoring on product wafers. The developed technique is used to analyze spatial correlation in dose and focus over a wide range of distances, using a mask with a multitude of these targets. The variation (3s) of dose and focus difference between two monitor targets is examined for various separation distances, and the variation of focus difference increases from 10 to 25 nm as the separation distance increases from ∼20 μm to ∼10 mm. The variation of 10 nm observed at the shortest distance reflects focus monitoring precision, and focus variation sources such as wafer thickness variation come into play at longer distances. © Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.