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Toward Nanometer Accuracy Measurements



John A. Kramar, E Amatucci, David E. Gilsinn, Jay S. Jun, William B. Penzes, Fredric Scire, E C. Teague, John S. Villarrubia


We at NIST are building a metrology instrument called the Molecular Measuring Machine (MMM) with the goal of performing 2D point-to-point measurements with one nanometer accuracy cover a 50 mm by 50 mm area. The instrument combines a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to probe the surface and a Michelson interferometer system to measure the probe movement, both with sub-nanometer resolution. The instrument also feature millidegree temperature control at 20 degrees C, an ultra-high vacuum environment with a base pressure below 10^(-5) Pa, and seismic and acoustic vibration isolation. High-accuracy pitch measurements have been performed on 1D gratings. In one experiment, the MMM STM probe imaged an array of laser-focused, atomically deposited chromium lines over an entire 5 micrometers by 1 mm area. Analysis of the data yielded an average line spacing of 212.69 nm with a 5 pm standard uncertainty. The uncertainty estimate is derived for an analysis of the sources of uncertainty for a 1 mm point-to-point measurement, including the effects of alignment, Abbe offset, motion cross-coupling, and temperature variations. In another measurement, the STM probe continuously tracked a holographically-produced grating surface for 10 mm, counting out 49,996 lines and measuring an average line spacing of 200.011 nm with a 5 pm standard uncertainty.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of SPIE, Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XIII, Bhanwar Singh, Editor
Conference Dates
March 15, 1999
Conference Location
Santa Clara, CA
Conference Title
Poster Session


length metrology, Michelson interferometry, scanning tunneling microscopy


Kramar, J. , Amatucci, E. , Gilsinn, D. , Jun, J. , Penzes, W. , Scire, F. , Teague, E. and Villarrubia, J. (1999), Toward Nanometer Accuracy Measurements, Proceedings of SPIE, Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XIII, Bhanwar Singh, Editor, Santa Clara, CA (Accessed July 14, 2024)


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Created June 1, 1999, Updated February 19, 2017