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Reference Metrology in a Research Fab: The NIST Clean Calibrations Thrust



Ronald G. Dixson, Ndubuisi G. Orji, Joseph Fu, Thomas B. Renegar, Xiaoyu A. Zheng, Theodore V. Vorburger, Albert M. Hilton, Marc J. Cangemi, Lei Chen, Michael A. Hernandez, Russell E. Hajdaj, Michael R. Bishop, Aaron Cordes


In 2004, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) commissioned the Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML) – a state-of-the-art, five-wing laboratory complex for leading edge NIST research. The NIST NanoFab – a 1765 m2 (19,000 ft2) clean room with 743 m2 (8000 ft2) of class 100 space – is the anchor of this facility and an integral component of the new Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) at NIST. Although the CNST/NanoFab is a nanotechnology research facility with a different strategic focus than a current high volume semiconductor fab, metrology tools still play an important role in the nanofabrication research conducted here. Some of the metrology tools available to users of the NanoFab include stylus profiling, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Since 2001, NIST has collaborated with SEMATECH to implement a reference measurement system (RMS) using critical dimension atomic force microscopy (CD-AFM). NIST brought metrology expertise to the table and SEMATECH provided access to leading edge metrology tools in their clean room facility in Austin. Now, in the newly launched “clean calibrations” thrust at NIST, we are implementing the reference metrology paradigm on several tools in the CNST/NanoFab. Initially, we have focused on calibration, monitoring, and uncertainty analysis for a three-tool set consisting of a stylus profiler, an SEM, and an AFM. Our larger goal is the development of new and supplemental calibrations and standards that will benefit from the Class 100 environment available in the NanoFab and offering our customers calibration options that do not require exposing their samples to less clean environments. Toward this end, we have completed a preliminary evaluation of the performance of these instruments. The results of these evaluations suggest that the achievable uncertainties are generally consistent with our measurement goals.
Proceedings Title
SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7272
Conference Dates
February 22-27, 2009
Conference Location
San Jose, CA
Conference Title
Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXIII


Clean calibrations, AFM, SEM, stylus, step height, magnification, SRM 484, standards, traceability


Dixson, R. , Orji, N. , Fu, J. , Renegar, T. , Zheng, X. , Vorburger, T. , Hilton, A. , Cangemi, M. , Chen, L. , Hernandez, M. , Hajdaj, R. , Bishop, M. and Cordes, A. (2009), Reference Metrology in a Research Fab: The NIST Clean Calibrations Thrust, SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7272, San Jose, CA, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created April 12, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017