The future of photomask repair Scaling trends towards smaller technology nodes and features sizes are continuing

First consumer products manufactured with the help of EUV technology are already on the market and major industrial players have introduced EUV lithography into their production at the 7nm technology node. With the 5nm node being on its way, the amount of EUV lithographic layers is expected to rise significantly and implementation of EUV double patterning will be introduced.

The challenges to be met

The described developments lead to more strict technological requirements especially for the corresponding EUV but also for the used high-end DUV photomasks in terms of minimum feature sizes and acceptable Edge Placement Errors (EPE).

Moreover, photomask defectivity increases dramatically with shrinking feature sizes. This creates significant challenges to the industry, as in particular the most cost intensive EUV photomasks possess the highest numbers of defects.

To face these challenges and to ensure the delivery of defect free masks ZEISS, as a leading supplier of metrology and manufacturing equipment for the global Semiconductor Industry, introduces the next generation photomask repair tool ZEISS MeRiT LE. 

A new era of photomask repair

The MeRiT® LE features a decreased minimum repair size and improved edge placement accuracy to address the increased number and complexity of pattern defects on high-end photomasks. Transparent and opaque defects of many different geometries on DUV and EUV can successfully be repaired.

The completely re-designed tool platform is based on focused electron beam induced processing and provides highest repair resolution. It is equipped with a new electron beam column, which shows an improved serviceability and is optimized for lowest electron energies.

The system is based on proven ZEISS technology and represents the successor of the MeRiT® neXT photomask repair tool, which is tool of record for all productive mask types.

EUV repair results
EUV repair results

EUV repair results done by ZEISS MeRiT LE

High-end repairs on a EUV photomask performed with MeRiT® LE. Clear and opaque defect structures of 60 nm half-pitch on mask have been successfully repaired and results have been verified by AIMS™ EUV analysis.

ZEISS MeRiT next

ZEISS Photomask Repair Portfolio

With MeRiT® photomask repair systems ZEISS offers optimized solutions based on leading edge technology for the repair of high-end photomasks enabling the repair of smallest new generation defects on every type of photomask.