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NIST develops high-resolution technique for characterization of nanoscale patterns with Small Angle X-Ray Scattering.

NIST has demonstrated the application of Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) as a new measurement method for the non-destructive characterization of nanoscale pattern size and shape at length scales needed for future technology nodes in the semiconductor industry. Current measurement methods such as scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and optical scatterometry, face significant challenges in the characterization of dense, high aspect ratio, nanoscale features because, in general, smaller structures are increasingly difficult to measure. In contrast, precise measurements of nanoscale structures with the SAXS technique become easier with decreasing structural size.

SAXS measurements were performed at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory on test arrays of lithographically prepared structures with dimensions spanning 90 nm to 300 nm with a precision on the order of 0.1 nm. Diffraction patterns provide average pitch and average line width over a large array of structures (ca. 40 [micro]m x 40 gm beam spot size). The method has been successfully demonstrated on test structures, including line gratings and two-dimensional arrays of via-pads composed of organic photoresists, oxide, and low-k dielectrics. Because measurements are performed in transmission mode on standard wafers in ambient air without additional sample preparation and data collection times are on the order of a second, this technique provides the potential for high throughput processing characterization. The development of a laboratory-scale device based on commercially available sources is considered feasible and is currently being explored.

This work is supported in part by the Advanced Lithography Program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the NIST Office of Microelectronics Programs. Technical assistance and test samples were provided by IBM, Shipley, ExxonMobil, and International SEMATECH.

For further information, visit the Polymers Division Web site at www.nist.gov/polymers and search Polymers Web space for "photolithography."

CONTACT: Ronald Jones, (301) 975-4624; ronald. jones@nist.gov or Eric Lin, (301) 975-6743; eric.lin@ nist.gov or Wen-li Wu, (301) 975-6839; wen-li.wu@ nist.gov.
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Title Annotation:General Developments
Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:324
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