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As the microelectronic industry is simultaneously shrinking design rules to 0.13 μm and below and integrating copper technology, new defectivity challenges appear. The requirements associated with these technology nodes include the efficient inspection of ever smaller features not only on known layers, but also in newer steps of the Cu damascene process, as well as the ability to characterize and monitor new lithography processes. In order to answer these needs, a brightfield UV inspection tool integrating advanced optical noise suppression and innovative image processing has been evaluated. This paper describes some recommendations for the capture of critical defects along with the inspection methodologies developed in order to characterize advanced technology modules. As an illustration, the defect detection strategies implemented on 3 different critical process steps (Shallow Trench Isolation (STI) Oxide Nitride removal, line litho after develop and Cu Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP)) are presented. In addition, a method qualifying the 193 nm technology node process development is detailed, in which time-to-result was drastically decreased.
Date of Conference: 31 March-1 April 2003