Progressiveness Kills Quality

DUV lithography has introduced a progressive mask defect growth problem widely known as crystal growth or haze. Even if the incoming mask quality is good, there is no guarantee that the mask will remain clean during its production usage in the wafer fab. These progressive defects must be caught in advance during production in the fabs. The ideal reticle quality control goal should be to detect any nascent progressive defects before they become yield limiting. Therefore, a high-resolution mask inspection is absolutely needed; but, then the big question is: “How often do fabs need to re-inspect their masks?”

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