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Sidewall Roughness Measurement using New Three Dimensional Atomic Force Microscope

B.-W. Ahn, J.H. Kim, S.-J. Cho
Park Systems, KR

Keywords: sidewall, roughness, AFM, SPM


Sidewall surface roughness is an important parameter in electronic device manufacture. At present, no high resolution technique exists to quantitatively characterize this property for undercut structures created by semiconductor processing techniques. We have developed a new atomic force microscope (AFM) for measuring three dimensional undercuts or overhang features. Unlike other 3D AFMs using flared tips, this new system operates with conventional AFM sharp tips, and rotates z scanner ±40 degrees with respect to samples, which allows the cantilever to access not only vertical walls but also undercuts up to 40 degrees. The rotation is fully motorized and the z scanner is fixed by kinematic mounts with a pneumatic cylinder during imaging process. A vertical on-axis optical microscope remains fixed at each position of scanning and, therefore, vision of the sample is not lost during the whole scanning process. The images taken at each of three positions; +40 degrees, 0 degree and -40 degrees, are transformed and combined to produce one three dimensional data. The combination algorithm is very simple and easy to apply. We tested the new AFM system to measure the sidewall roughness of overhang structures.
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