The Crystal Growth and Reticle Degradation Expose

Crystal growth and haze formation on reticles continues to be a significant source of concern for the semiconductor industry. Possible sources, causes, and formation mechanisms continue to be investigated. Mask making materials, process residues, reticle containers and fab and or stepper environment can contribute to reticle degradation over time. This paper provides a comprehensive evaluation of various molecular contaminants found on the backside surface of a reticle used in high-volume production. Previously, all or most of the photo-induced contaminants were detected under the pellicle. This particular contamination is a white “haze” detected by pre-exposure inspection using KLA-Tencor TeraStar STARlight™ with Un-patterned Reticle Surface Analysis, (URSA). Chemical analysis was done using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) and Raman spectroscopy.

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