It is crucial to qualify all photomasks regarding defects, understand their impact on the printing performance of the mask and eliminate them before the mask is used in a stepper or scanner. The AIMS® machine is the only system which qualifies the photomask under scanner equivalent conditions covering all lithography techniques including Double Patterning, Source Mask Optimization (SMO) and Inverse Lithography.
ZEISS offers solutions to ensure a defect free printing performance of photomasks for 248 nm, 193 nm and EUV lithography. The systems precisely qualify photomasks according to the printing behavior. The first ZEISS AIMS machine was introduced in 1993. Today the systems are an integral part of the mask manufacturing process and guarantee the delivery of defect free masks to wafer fabs.
Down below you find the variety of the innovative AIMS® systems:
ZEISS AIMS 1x-193i is used for defect review, printability analysis and repair verification and qualifies photomasks with high precision and accuracy for todays and future technology nodes. AIMS® 1x-193i addresses the challenges of increased feature complexity, tighter mask specifications and more accurate and reliable defect disposition by offering an excellent CD repeatability and full illumination flexibility utilizing FlexIllu®, a computer controlled illumination and key enabler for SMO technology. The platform offers future performance upgrades to enhance the system capability with respect to CD repeatability and throughput to keep with ongoing technology demands. Furthermore, the AIMS® 193nm high-end platform supports additional applications such as AIMS® AutoAnalysis for fully automated and reliable analysis of aerial images and WLCD 2G for a printing aware CD metrology.
ZEISS AIMS fab neo provides the capability to perform defect and repair verification for 248 nm photomasks. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology the system is of choice when simplification and cost effectiveness are the main challenges. AIMS® fab neo offers a completely new design. The beam path is improved ensuring a high reliability and enhanced serviceability. The illumination unit is equipped with an exchangeable slider which allows a predefinition of up to 21 user definable sigma apertures. This ensures an easy switch of illumination schemes during operation.
ZEISS AIMS 32-193 SE is dedicated to 193 nm mature products which require a considerable flexibility for defect verification but facing the challenge of cost effectiveness. It sits on a proven and robust measurement platform. The system provides an enhanced illumination flexibility by realization of a two slider solution offering a high variety of conventional illumination schemes. Furthermore it provides the FreeForm Illumination (FFI) capability realizing more complex illumination shapes to support SMO requirements.
ZEISS opens up a new era of actinic mask qualification with the new generation of AIMS® EUV. It provides full emulation of the scanner imaging conditions for the NXE:3xy0 scanner systems, with extension capability to next generation EXE:5000 high-NA scanner systems. With its high precision stage for defect location accuracy and the employment of an EUV plasma source, AIMS® EUV meets the industry production requirements for manufacturing defect-free EUV photomasks.
ZEISS offers several automation applications running on the FAVOR® platform. The computational engine enables productivity and reliability enhancement through intelligent automation.
AIMS® AutoAnalysis (AAA)
AIMS® AutoAnalysis runs independently from tool software, allowing the AIMS® tools to be dedicated for measurements only while the analysis runs in parallel. It optimizes processes as it improves productivity, saves operator time and standardizes results.
AIMS® AutoAnalysis EUV (AAA EUV)
AIMS® AutoAnalysis EUV (AAAEUV) extends the automated defect verification to the segment of high-end EUV mask manufacturing. Parallel processing allows for high throughput and sophisticated analysis algorithms for evaluation of even the smallest EUV structures. Extended standardization, realized by a recipe and template based approach, also enables to run DUV processes identically for EUV mask making. Significant time savings are achieved by analyzing data in parallel to running measurements. By taking out the human factor reliability is improved and operator to operator variations are eliminated.
Advanced Repair Center (ARC)
The Advanced Repair Center ARC is capable of connecting tools and software products in a smart way. It is a back end of line manufacturing enterprise solution that targets productivity, costs saving and shorter turnaround time through the use of intelligent automation. Built on the connectivity provided it facilitates data management and process flow optimization for the entire defect handling process. That significantly reduces the required amount manual interactions and makes processes less prone to human errors resulting in increased reliability.