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Solution of pattern matching inspection problem for grainy metal layers

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6 Author(s)
Sakurai, K. ; Manuf. Eng. Center, Mitsubishi Electr. Corp., Hyogo, Japan ; Onoyama, A. ; Fujii, T. ; Yamanishi, K.
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In this paper, we demonstrate a new method of improving the defect controllability of grainy metal layers, for example, Hot-Al-Cu wiring, by enhancing the practical sensitivity of in-line inspectors. The problem in increasing practical sensitivity is the nuisance counts caused by grain boundaries, which do not cause electrical failures. We propose a method of decreasing the signal from the grain boundaries. On the grayscale images taken by pattern matching inspectors, grain boundaries are observed as gray on Hot-Al-Cu wiring, which is observed as white. If the illumination brightness is increased, the gray level of the grain boundaries becomes higher and saturates at the upper limit of grayscale, i.e., white. On the other hand, the gray level of the wiring stays white. Thus the signal, the grayscale difference between the grain boundaires and the wiring, can be decreased to almost zero. We call this phenomenon the "saturation effect." Our experimental results prove that the saturation effect due to illumination brightness optimization successfully cancels the nuisance counts caused by grain boundaries. The practical sensitivity limit is enhanced from 0.8 to 0.4 μm. This solution will greatly improve the defect controllability of grainy metal layers

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Semiconductor Manufacturing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 1 )