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Lateral Tip Control Effects in CD-AFM Metrology: The Large Tip Limit



Ronald G. Dixson, Ndubuisi G. Orji, Ryan Goldband


Sidewall sensing in CD-AFMs usually involves continuous lateral dithering of the tip or the use of a control algorithm and fast response piezo actuator to position the tip in a manner that resembles touch-triggering of coordinate measuring machine (CMM) probes. All methods of tip position control, however, induce an effective tip width that may deviate from the actual geometrical tip width. Understanding the influence and dependence of the effective tip width on the dither settings and lateral stiffness of the tip can improve the measurement accuracy and uncertainty estimation for CD-AFM measurements. Since CD-AFM typically uses tips that range from 15 nm to 850 nm in geometrical width, the behavior of effective tip width throughout this range should be understood. NIST has been investigating the dependence of effective tip width on the dither settings and lateral stiffness of the tip, as well as the possibility of material effects due to sample composition. For tip widths of 130 nm and lower, which also have lower lateral stiffness, the response of the effective tip width to lateral dither is greater than for larger tips. However, we have concluded that these effects will not generally result in a residual bias, provided that the tip calibration and sample measurement are performed under the same conditions. To validate our prior conclusions about the dependence of effective tip width on lateral stiffness are valid for large CD-tips, we recently performed experiments using a very large non-CD tip with an etched plateau of approximately 2 µm width. The effective lateral stiffness of these tips is at least 20 times greater than typical CD-AFM tips, and these results supported our prior conclusions about the expected behavior for larger tips. The bottom-line importance of these latest observations is that we can now reasonably conclude that a dither slope of 3 nm/V is the baseline response due to the induced motion of the cantilever base.
Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS


CD-AFM, dither, metrology, CD, linewidth, tip width, calibration
Created January 25, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017