Electrical test structures and measurement techniques for the characterisation of advanced photomasks
Existing photomask metrology is struggling to keep pace with the rapid reduction of IC dimensions as traditional measurement techniques are being stretched to their limits. This thesis examines the use of on-mask probable electrical test structures and measurement techniques to meet this challenge and to accurately characterise the imaging capabilities of advanced binary and phase-shifting chrome-on-quartz photomasks. On-mask, electrical and optical linewidth measurement techniques have highlighted that the use of more than one measurement method, complementing each other, can prove valuable when characterising an advanced photomask process. Industry standard optical metrology test patterns have been adapted for the direct electrical equivalent measurement and the structures used to characterise different feature arrangements fabricated on standard and advanced photomasks with proximity correction techniques. The electrical measurements were compared to measurements from an optical mask metrology and verification tool and a state-of-the-art CD-AFM system and the results have demonstrated the capability and strengths of the on-mask electrical measurement. For example, electrical and AFM measurements on submicron features agreed within 10nm of each other while optical measurements were offset by up to 90nm. Hence, electrical techniques can prove valuable in providing feedback to the large number of metrology tools already supporting photomask manufacture, which in turn will help to develop CD standards for maskmaking. Electrical test structures have also been designed to enable the characterisation of optical proximity correction to characterise right angled corners in conducting tracks using a prototype design for both on-mask and wafer characterisation. Measurement results from the on-mask structures have shown that the electrical technique is sensitive enough to detect the effect of OPC on inner corners and to identify any defects in the fabricated features. For example less than 10 (5%) change in the expected resistance data trends indicated a deformed OPC feature. Results from on-wafer structures have shown that the correction technique has an impact on the final printed features and the measured resistance can be used to characterise the effects of different levels of correction. Overall the structures have shown their capability to characterise this type of optical proximity correction on both mask and wafer level. Test structures have also been designed for the characterisation of the dimensional mismatch between closely spaced photomask features. A number of photomasks were fabricated with these structures and the results from electrical measurements have been analysed to obtain information about the capability of the mask making process. The electrical test structures have demonstrated the capability of measuring tool and process induced dimensional mismatches in the nanometer range on masks which would otherwise prove difficult with standard optical metrology techniques. For example, electrical measurements detected mismatches of less than 15nm on 500nm wide features.