Offline study of next generation EUV pellicle materials and performances : From experimental design to material characterization

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: Lithography is the most crucial step in the semiconductor microfabrication workflow. Continuous features size shrinking co-occurs with the reduction of the exposure wavelength: a move from 193 nm light to extreme ultra-violet (EUV) at 13.5 nm is performed. The change poses a vast number of challenges that have been overcome in the past years. Among the others, the protection of the reticle front side from defects is crucial. Shielding can be achieved by means of EUV pellicles: large area (~150 cm2), freestanding, ultra-thin (~50 nm) membranes that prevent particles from landing on the reticle surface. Defects fall on the pellicle membrane, which is out-of-focus with respect to the reticle. During operation, the pellicle has to endure mechanical movements (>100 m/s2) and withstand the EUV scanner environment. With increasing source power (resulting in temperatures >500 ºC) structural and chemical integrity must be guaranteed. With multiple semiconductor manufacturers introducing EUV in HVM, an urgent need for a mass volume production-ready pellicle solution is present.In this thesis project, new generation pellicle materials are exposed to EUV light and gas atmosphere at BESSY II synchrotron beamline. The purpose is to investigate the performances of the new membrane samples in terms of the HVM production specifications. Two sets of 10x10 mm2 samples Type (A – B) with different core thickness are tested. Samples are characterized by using the following techniques: EUV transmittance and reflectance measurements, RBS, XPS, and FTIR. After exposure, all the samples undergo degradation. The main root causes are the atmosphere environment and the temperature. On the other hand, EUV light itself plays a marginal role in the process. The material etching mechanism must be further investigated through additional pellicle tests. This is a necessary step to make towards the high-volume manufacturing standards required for mass production.

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