Open Access: Localized and cascading secondary electron generation as causes of stochastic defects in extreme ultraviolet projection lithography

Hiroshi Fukuda


J. of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS, 18(1)
, 013503 (2019). Localized and cascading secondary electron generation as causes of stochastic defects in extreme ultraviolet projection lithography

Abstract
Projection lithography using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light at 13-nm wavelength is expected to achieve production of integrated circuits below 10 nm design-rules. In pursuit of further miniaturization, however, stochastic pattern defect problems have arisen. Here, we discuss the possible impact of spatially inhomogeneous secondary electron (SE) generation on stochastic defects. Two mechanisms are investigated: (1) accidental connections of photon shot noises enhanced by densely localized SE generation and (2) cascading SE generation along photoelectron trajectory traveling from pattern edge into a dark region. Since such defect probabilities are extremely low (typically 10  −  4 to ∼10  −  12), results of Monte Carlo simulation based on classical optical image and electron scattering simulations are converted into probability functions for densities of physical/chemical events such as photon absorption, SE generation, and elementary reaction in chemically amplified resists. Probabilities of pattern formation and of defect generation are modeled using these functions. Results of performance optimization using a multiobjective genetic algorithm show higher stochastic defects probability in EUV than in conventional deep-UV exposure due to larger spatial inhomogeneity in reaction density and existence of SE generation strings. Defect probabilities are strongly dependent on absolute pattern sizes in the two mechanisms, regardless of the resolution capability of imaging systems. Guidelines for suppressing stochastic defects are suggested, such as homogenization of reaction density, material composition for increasing scattering cross-section, and suppression of pattern edge fluctuation.