Journal article Open Access

Review of reference metrology for nanotechnology: significance, challenges, and solutions

Ukraintsev, Vladimir

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    <subfield code="a">Metrology and control of critical dimension (CD) are key to the
success of nanotechnology. Modern nanotechnology and nanometrology
are largely based on knowledge developed during the last 10 to 20 years
of semiconductor manufacturing. Semiconductor CD metrology entered
the nanotechnology age in the late 1990s. Work on 130-nm- and 90-
nm-node technologies led to the conclusion that precision alone is an
insufficient metric for the quality assessment of metrology. Other components
of measurement uncertainty (MU) must also be considered: 1. sample-
to-sample measurement bias variation, 2. sampling uncertainty, and
3. sample variation induced by the probe-sample interaction. The first
one (sample-dependent systematic error) is common for indirect and
model-based CD metrologies such as top-down and cross-sectional scanning
electron microscopy (SEM) and optical scatterometry (OCD). Unless
special measures are taken, bias variation of CDSEM and OCD could
exceed several nanometers. Variation of bias and therefore MU can be
assessed only if reference metrology (RM) is employed. The choice of
RM tools is very limited. The CD atomic force microscope (AFM) is one
of a few available RM tools. The CDAFM provides subnanometer MU
for a number of nanometrology applications. Significant challenges of
CDAFM remain, such as the following: 1. the finite dimensions of the
probe are limiting characterization of narrow high-aspect spaces, 2. the
flexibility of the probe complicates positioning control, 3. the probe
apex sharpness limits 3D AFM resolution, 4. the lifetime of atomically
sharp probes is too short, and 5. adsorbates change properties and dimensions
of nanometer-sized objects considerably. We believe that solutions
for the problems exist; therefore, we will discuss the role of RM in nanometrology,
current RM choices, and the challenges of CDAFM as well as
suggest some potential solutions. 
© 2012 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation
Engineers (SPIE). [DOI: 10.1117/1.JMM.11.1.XXXXXX]
Subject terms: accuracy; reference metrology; critical dimension; nanometrology;
bias; critical dimension scanning electron microscope; critical dimension atomic
force microscope; scatterometry; relative accuracy; absolute accuracy.
Paper 11109SSP received Aug. 5, 2011; revised manuscript received Oct. 18,
2011; accepted for publication Oct. 26, 2011.</subfield>
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