Zeiss develops prototype EUV mask metrology system

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The Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology business group of Zeiss has developed an inspection system for EUV photomasks, called the actinic Aerial Image Metrology System AIMS EUV. First images of EUV photomasks were taken by the prototype of the system.

‘The first images are a major milestone, because they verify the concept and the design of the whole system. We produced evidence that not only the optics are well defined, but also the source and all other major components are working together,’ stated Dr Jan Hendrik Peters, EUV programme manager at Carl Zeiss SMS.

The AIMS EUV platform represents an essential tool for the development and manufacture of defect-free EUVL masks supporting the 16nm half-pitch (HP) technology node requirements with extendibility to the 11nm HP node. Consequently, the development of this tool is part of the EUVL Mask Infrastructure (EMI) Consortium activities. Sematech launched EMI in 2010 to address key infrastructure gaps for EUV in the area of mask metrology, by funding development of critical metrology tools.

‘The AIMS EUV tool will be one of the most precise optical instruments fabricated for the semiconductor industry, and the EMI members are pleased to see our collaboration facilitate this technical accomplishment. With first images now available, Zeiss is showing significant progress in building a production-ready tool. Mask defectivity remains a key challenge to EUV readiness and it is exciting to see AIMS continue its journey towards realisation,’ said Michael Goldstein, EMI programme manager and senior principal physicist, Intel assignee at Sematech.

The first images were taken on 64nm mask structures, corresponding to 16nm half-pitch at wafer level. In the course of the year the first customer masks will be measured on the system.