KLA-Tencor Patent Applications

POLYGON-BASED GEOMETRY CLASSIFICATION FOR SEMICONDUCTOR MASK INSPECTION

Granted: February 16, 2017
Application Number: 20170046471
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for providing feature classification for inspection of a photolithographic mask. A design database for fabrication of a mask includes polygons that are each defined by a set of vertices. Any of the polygons that abut each other are grouped together. Any grouped polygons are healed so as to eliminate interior edges of each set of grouped polygons to obtain a polygon corresponding to a covering region of such set of grouped polygons. Geometric…

PERIODIC PATTERNS AND TECHNIQUE TO CONTROL MISALIGNMENT BETWEEN TWO LAYERS

Granted: February 9, 2017
Application Number: 20170038198
A method and system to measure misalignment error between two overlying or interlaced periodic structures are proposed. The overlying or interlaced periodic structures are illuminated by incident radiation, and the diffracted radiation of the incident radiation by the overlying or interlaced periodic structures are detected to provide an output signal. The misalignment between the overlying or interlaced periodic structures may then be determined from the output signal.

Front Quartersphere Scattered Light Analysis

Granted: January 12, 2017
Application Number: 20170010222
A surface inspection system, as well as related components and methods, are provided. The surface inspection system includes a beam source subsystem, a beam scanning subsystem, a workpiece movement subsystem, an optical collection and detection subsystem, and a processing subsystem. The optical collection and detection system features, in the front quartersphere, a light channel assembly for collecting light reflected from the surface of the workpiece, and a front collector and wing…

METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR SPECKLE SUPPRESSION IN LASER DARK-FIELD SYSTEMS

Granted: January 12, 2017
Application Number: 20170011495
Disclosed are apparatus and methods for detecting defects on a semiconductor sample. The system includes an illumination module for directing a nonzero-order Gaussian illumination beam towards a plurality of locations on a sample and a collection module for detecting light scattered from the sample in response to the nonzero-order Gaussian illumination beams and generating a plurality of output images or signals for each location on the sample. The system further comprises a processor…

METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR MEASURING HEIGHT ON A SEMICONDUCTOR WAFER

Granted: December 29, 2016
Application Number: 20160377412
Disclosed are apparatus and methods for determining height of a semiconductor structure. The system includes an illumination module for directing one or more source lines or points towards a specimen having multiple surfaces at different relative heights and a collection module for detecting light reflected from the surfaces. The collection module contains at least two detectors with one slit or pinhole in front of each detector that that are positioned to receive light reflected from…

MACHINE LEARNING METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSPECTING RETICLES

Granted: November 17, 2016
Application Number: 20160335753
Apparatus and methods for inspecting a specimen are disclosed. An inspection tool is used at one or more operating modes to obtain images of a plurality of training regions of a specimen, and the training regions are identified as defect-free. Three or more basis training images are derived from the images of the training regions. A classifier is formed based on the three or more basis training images. The inspection system is used at the one or more operating modes to obtain images of a…

MULTI-MODEL METROLOGY

Granted: November 3, 2016
Application Number: 20160322267
Disclosed are apparatus and methods for characterizing a plurality of structures of interest on a semiconductor wafer. A plurality of models having varying combinations of floating and fixed critical parameters and corresponding simulated spectra is generated. Each model is generated to determine one or more critical parameters for unknown structures based on spectra collected from such unknown structures. It is determined which one of the models best correlates with each critical…

APPARATUS FOR MEASURING OVERLAY ERRORS

Granted: October 27, 2016
Application Number: 20160313116
A metrology system for determining overlay is disclosed. The system includes an optical assembly for capturing images of an overlay mark and a computer for analyzing the captured images to determine whether there is an overlay error. The mark comprises first and second regions that each include at least two separately generated working zones, juxtaposed relative to one another, configured to provide overlay information in a first direction, and include a periodic structure having…

METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR DETERMINING FOCUS

Granted: September 29, 2016
Application Number: 20160282731
Disclosed are apparatus and methods for determining optimal focus for a photolithography system. A plurality of optical signals are acquired from a particular target located in a plurality of fields on a semiconductor wafer, and the fields were formed using different process parameters, including different focus values. A feature is extracted from the optical signals related to changes in focus. A curve is fitted to the extracted feature of the optical signals as a function of focus. An…

WAFER AND RETICLE INSPECTION SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SELECTING ILLUMINATION PUPIL CONFIGURATIONS

Granted: September 15, 2016
Application Number: 20160266047
In an optical inspection tool, an illumination aperture is opened at each of a plurality of aperture positions of an illumination pupil area one at a time across the illumination pupil area. For each aperture opening position, an incident beam is directed towards the illumination pupil area so as to selectively pass a corresponding ray bundle of the illumination beam at a corresponding set of one or more incident angles towards the sample and an output beam, which is emitted from the…

ALL REFLECTIVE WAFER DEFECT INSPECTION AND REVIEW SYSTEMS AND METHODS

Granted: September 8, 2016
Application Number: 20160258878
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for reflecting, towards a sensor, an Infrared to vacuum ultra-violet (VUV) light that is reflected from a target substrate. The system includes a first mirror arranged to receive and reflect the Infrared to VUV light that is reflected from the target substrate and a second mirror arranged to receive and reflect Infrared to VUV light that is reflected by the first mirror. The first and second mirrors are arranged and shaped so as to reflect Infrared to…

WAFER INSPECTION WITH FOCUS VOLUMETRIC METHOD

Granted: July 21, 2016
Application Number: 20160209334
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for detecting defects in a semiconductor sample. An inspection tool is used to collect intensity data sets at a plurality of focus settings from each of a plurality of xy positions of the sample. A polynomial equation having a plurality of coefficients is extracted for each of the xy position's collected intensity data sets as a function of focus setting. Each of the coefficients' set of values for the plurality of xy positions is represented with a…

Visual Feedback for Inspection Algorithms and Filters

Granted: July 21, 2016
Application Number: 20160210526
The disclosure is directed to providing visual feedback for inspection algorithms and difference filters used to process test and reference images from an inspection system. A user interface may be configured for displaying information and accepting user commands. A computing system communicatively coupled to the user interface may be configured to receive at least one set of test and reference images collected by the inspection system. The computing system may be further configured to…

INSPECTION SYSTEMS AND TECHNIQUES WITH ENHANCED DETECTION

Granted: June 2, 2016
Application Number: 20160153914
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for inspecting semiconductor samples. On an inspection tool, a plurality of different wavelength ranges is selected for different layers of interest of one or more semiconductor samples based on whether such different layers of interest have an absorber type material present within or near such different layers of interest. On the inspection tool, at least one incident beam is directed at the different wavelength ranges towards the different layers of…

APPARATUS AND METHODS FOR OPTICS PROTECTION FROM DEBRIS IN PLASMA-BASED LIGHT SOURCE

Granted: May 5, 2016
Application Number: 20160128171
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for generating an illumination beam. In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a vacuum chamber configured to hold a target material, an optical element positioned within the vacuum chamber or within a wall of such vacuum chamber, and an illumination source system for generating at least one excitation source that is focused on the target in the vacuum chamber for generating a plasma in the vacuum chamber so as to produce illumination radiation. The…

AUTOMATED DECISION-BASED ENERGY-DISPERSIVE X-RAY METHODOLOGY AND APPARATUS

Granted: April 28, 2016
Application Number: 20160116425
One embodiment relates to a method for automated review of defects detected in a defective die on the target substrate. The method includes: performing an automated review of the defects using an secondary electron microscope (SEM) so as to obtain electron-beam images of the defects; performing an automated classification of the defects into types based on morphology of the defects as determined from the electron-beam images; selecting defects of a specific type for automated…

CRITICAL DIMENSION UNIFORMITY ENHANCEMENT TECHNIQUES AND APPARATUS

Granted: April 21, 2016
Application Number: 20160110858
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for inspecting a photolithographic reticle. Modeled images of a plurality of target features of the reticle are obtained based on a design database for fabricating the reticle. An inspection tool is used to obtain a plurality of actual images of the target features of the reticle. The modelled and actual images are binned into a plurality of bins based on image properties of the modelled and actual images, and at least some of the image properties are…

193nm Laser And An Inspection System Using A 193nm Laser

Granted: February 25, 2016
Application Number: 20160056606
An improved laser uses a pump laser with a wavelength near 1109 nm and a fundamental wavelength near 1171 nm to generate light at a wavelength between approximately 189 nm and approximately 200 nm, e.g. 193 nm. The laser mixes the 1109 nm pump wavelength with the 5th harmonic of the 1171 nm fundamental, which is at a wavelength of approximately 234.2 nm. By proper selection of non-linear media, such mixing can be achieved by nearly non-critical phase matching. This mixing results in high…

APPARATUS AND METHODS FOR DETECTING OVERLAY ERRORS USING SCATTEROMETRY

Granted: February 18, 2016
Application Number: 20160047744
Disclosed is a scatterometry mark for determining an overlay error, critical dimension, or profile of the mark. The mark includes a first plurality of periodic structures on a first layer, a second plurality of periodic structures on a second layer, and a third plurality of periodic structures on a third layer that is underneath the first and second layer. The third periodic structures are perpendicular to the first and second structures, and the third periodic structures have one or…

APPARATUS AND METHODS FOR PREDICTING WAFER-LEVEL DEFECT PRINTABILITY

Granted: January 14, 2016
Application Number: 20160012579
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for qualifying a photolithographic reticle. A reticle inspection tool is used to acquire images at different imaging configurations from each of the pattern areas of a calibration reticle. A reticle near field is recovered for each of the pattern areas of the calibration reticle based on the acquired images from each pattern area of the calibration reticle. Using the recovered reticle near field for the calibration reticle, a lithography model for…