X-Ray Scatterometer for Critical Dimensional Metrology
Develop an innovative x-ray scattering tool to enable high throughput metrology for semiconductor manufacturing at 32 nanometers and below.
Sponsor: Xradia, Inc5052 Commercial Circle
Concord, CA 94520
Minimum feature size in state-of-the-art semiconductor integrated circuits continues to shrink according to the "Moore's law," and is expected to reach 32 nanometers in the near future. Existing measurement technologies for monitoring semiconductor manufacturing are reaching fundamental physical limits and new metrology solutions must be developed. The dominant current measurement techniques use either scanning electron microscopy, which has difficulty making necessary three-dimensional measurements and can cause radiation damage to IC photoresists at smaller dimensions, or optical scattering techniques that cannot make direct measurements at these dimensions but rather rely on extensive computer modeling and interpolation of the results. Xradia proposes an innovative metrology tool based on x-ray scattering to meet many current and future metrology needs in semiconductor manufacturing. Several key challenging technology innovations need to be developed for this project. While the basic proof-of-principle has been demonstrated, the technology must be made much more efficient for use in a production environment—at present, several hours are required for each measurement. If successful, the proposed tool will help the U.S. semiconductor industry maintain and advance its technological competitive advantage in world markets.