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Appl Opt. 2006 Jun 1;45(16):3688-97.

Application of Mueller polarimetry in conical diffraction for critical dimension measurements in microelectronics.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Physique des Interfaces et des Couches Minces, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7647, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France.


Fast and efficient metrology tools are required in microelectronics for control of ever-decreasing feature sizes. Optical techniques such as spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) and normal incidence reflectometry are widely used for this task. In this work we investigate the potential of spectral Mueller polarimetry in conical diffraction for the characterization of 1D gratings, with particular emphasis on small critical dimensions (CDs). Mueller matrix spectra were taken in the visible (450-700 nm) wavelength range on a photoresist grating on a Si substrate with 70/240 nm CD/period nominal values, set at nine different azimuthal angles. These spectra were fitted with a rigorous coupled-wave analysis (RCWA) algorithm by using different models for the grating profile (rectangular and trapezoidal, with or without rounded corners). A detailed study of the stability and consistency of the optimal CD values, together with the variation of the merit function (the mean square deviation D2) around these values, clearly showed that for a given wavelength range, this technique can decouple some critical parameters (e.g., top and bottom CDs, left and right sidewall projections) much more efficiently than the usual SE.

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