Nanometrics Patent Applications


Granted: June 18, 2015
Application Number: 20150168290
An optical metrology device, such as an ellipsometer, includes a focusing system that adjusts the focal position of the metrology device in real time so that focus may be maintained during movement of the measurement locations on the sample, e.g., using closed loop control. A filtered focus signal may be used to adjust the focal position while moving to a measurement location. Additionally, the focus signal may be coarsely filtered and finely filtered, where a coarse filtered focus…


Granted: June 4, 2015
Application Number: 20150153165
An optical metrology device simultaneously detects light with multiple angles of incidence (AOI) and/or multiple azimuth angles to determine at least one parameter of a sample. The metrology device focuses light on the sample using an optical system with a large numerical aperture, e.g., 0.2 to 0.9. Multiple channels having multiple AOIs and/or multiple azimuth angles are selected simultaneously by passing light reflected from the sample through a plurality of pupils in a pupil plate.…


Granted: May 28, 2015
Application Number: 20150146193
An optical metrology device is capable of detection of any combination of photoluminescence light, specular reflection of broadband light, and scattered light from a line across the width of a sample. The metrology device includes a first light source that produces a first illumination line on the sample. A scanning system may be used to scan an illumination spot across the sample to form the illumination line. A detector spectrally images the photoluminescence light emitted along the…


Granted: April 10, 2014
Application Number: 20140098369
An ellipsometer includes an integrated focusing system with a beam splitter between the sample and the ellipsometer detector. The beam splitter provides a portion of the radiation to a lens system that magnifies any deviation from a best focus position by at least 2×. The focusing system includes a 2D sensor, where the spot of light focused on the sensor is 50 percent or smaller than the sensor. The focusing system may further include a compensator to correct optical aberrations caused…


Granted: October 24, 2013
Application Number: 20130278942
A dark field diffraction based overlay metrology device illuminates an overlay target that has at least three pads for an axis, the three pads having different programmed offsets. The overlay target may be illuminated using two obliquely incident beams of light from opposite azimuth angles or using normally incident light. Two dark field images of the overlay target are collected using ±1st diffraction orders to produce at least six independent signals. For example, the +1st diffraction…


Granted: October 3, 2013
Application Number: 20130257270
A plasma lamp includes a capsule with a gas contained within the capsule and an ignition source to ionize the gas to produce a light emitting plasma. The ignition source includes field defining conductors within the capsule and a radio frequency source external to the capsule. The radio frequency source and the field defining conductors are configured so that the field defining conductors will produce electric fields in response to RF energy from the radio frequency source and the…


Granted: September 19, 2013
Application Number: 20130242303
A dual optical metrology system includes a first metrology device and a second metrology device, each producing light at different oblique angles of incidence on the same spot of a sample from different azimuth angles. The dual optical metrology system further includes a rotating stage or flip mirrors capable of altering the orientation of the light beams so the first and second metrology devices can measure the same spot on the sample at different orientations. Thus, the first and…


Granted: August 15, 2013
Application Number: 20130208279
An image based overlay measurement is performed using an overlay target that includes shifted overlying gratings. The overlay target is imaged and an asymmetry is measured in the image of the overlaid gratings. The asymmetry is used to determine the overlay error. For each measurement direction, the overlay target may include two or more overlay measurement pads with different offsets between the top and bottom gratings. The measured asymmetries and offsets in the overlay measurement…


Granted: November 1, 2012
Application Number: 20120276665
The present disclosure provides methods and apparatus that enable characterization of an electrical property of a semiconductor specimen, e.g., dopant concentration of a near-surface region of the specimen. In exemplary method, a target depth for measurement is selected. This thickness may, for example, correspond to a nominal production thickness of a thin active device region of the specimen. A light is adjusted to an intensity selected to characterize a target region of the specimen…

Thin Films And Surface Topography Measurement Using Reduced Library

Granted: October 25, 2012
Application Number: 20120271591
The properties of a surface of an object in presence of thin transparent films are determined by generating a library of model signals and processing a measurement signal via searching the library to evaluate films properties and topography. The library may be reduced with principal component analysis to enhance computation speed. Computation enhancement may also be achieved by removal of the height contributions from the signal leaving only the film contribution in the signal. The film…

Ellipsometer Focusing System

Granted: October 11, 2012
Application Number: 20120257200
An ellipsometer includes an integrated focusing system with a beam splitter between the sample and the ellipsometer detector. The beam splitter provides a portion of the radiation to a lens system that magnifies any deviation from a best focus position by at least 2×. The focusing system includes a 2D sensor, where the spot of light focused on the sensor is 50 percent or smaller than the sensor. The focusing system may further include a compensator to correct optical aberrations caused…

Parallel Acquisition Of Spectra For Diffraction Based Overlay

Granted: September 6, 2012
Application Number: 20120224176
Spectra for diffraction based overlay (DBO) in orthogonal directions, i.e., along the X-axis and Y-axis, are acquired in parallel. A broadband light source produces unpolarized broadband light that is simultaneously incident on X-axis and Y-axis DBO targets. A polarization separator, such as a Wollaston prism or planar birefringent element, receives diffracted light from the X-axis and Y-axis DBO targets and separates the TE and TM polarization states of the diffracted light. A detector…

Mueller Matrix Spectroscopy Using Chiroptic

Granted: July 12, 2012
Application Number: 20120176618
An optical metrology device produces a broadband beam of light that is incident on and reflected by a sample and introduces multiple variations in the polarization state of the beam of light induced by an optical chiral element. Using the detected light, the Muller matrix or partial Mueller matrix for the sample is determined, which is then used to determine a characteristic of the sample. For example, simulated spectra for a Mueller matrix for a model is fit to the measured spectra for…

In-Plane Optical Metrology

Granted: February 16, 2012
Application Number: 20120039568
A structure that is located adjacent to a measurement target on a substrate is used to convert incident radiation from an optical metrology device to be in-plane with the measurement target. The structure may be, e.g., a grating or photonic crystal, and may include a waveguide between the structure and the measurement target. The in-plane light interacts with the measurement target and is reflected back to the structure, which converts the in-plane light to out-of-plane light that is…

Local Stress Measurement

Granted: November 3, 2011
Application Number: 20110265578
An optical metrology device determines the local stress in a film on a substrate. The metrology device maps the thickness of the substrate prior to processing. After processing, the metrology device determines the surface curvature of the substrate caused by the processing and maps the thickness of a film on the top surface after of the substrate after processing. The surface curvature of the substrate may be determined as basis functions. The local stress in the film is then determined…

Diffraction Based Overlay Linearity Testing

Granted: September 29, 2011
Application Number: 20110238365
An empirical diffraction based overlay (eDBO) measurement of an overlay error is produced using diffraction signals from a plurality of diffraction based alignment pads from an alignment target. The linearity of the overlay error is tested using the same diffraction signals or a different set of diffraction signals from diffraction based alignment pads. Wavelengths that do not have a linear response to overlay error may be excluded from the measurement error.

Silicon Filter for Photoluminescence Metrology

Granted: June 16, 2011
Application Number: 20110141460
A method and apparatus identifies defects in a sample using photoluminescence with a silicon filter to filter out the primary excitation light from the return light received by the detector. The silicon filter passes the light emitted by the sample in response to the excitation light, while absorbing the lower wavelength excitation light that is reflected by or transmitted through the sample. The silicon filter has introduced impurities that reduce the recombination lifetime which…

Optical Metrology On Textured Samples

Granted: April 28, 2011
Application Number: 20110096339
One or more parameters of a sample that includes a textured substrate and one or more overlying films is determined using, e.g., an optical metrology device to direct light to be incident on the sample and detecting light after the incident light interacts with the sample. The acquired data is normalized using reference data that is produced using a textured reference sample. The normalized data is then fit to simulated data that is associated with a model having an untextured substrate…

Scatterometry Measurement of Asymmetric Structures

Granted: April 7, 2011
Application Number: 20110080585
Asymmetry metrology is performed using at least a portion of Mueller matrix elements, including, e.g., the off-diagonal elements of the Mueller matrix. The Mueller matrix may be generated using, e.g., a spectroscopic or angle resolved ellipsometer that may include a rotating compensator. The Mueller matrix is analyzed by fitting at least a portion of the elements to Mueller matrix elements calculated using a rigorous electromagnetic model of the sample or by fitting the off-diagonal…

Simulating Two-Dimensional Periodic Patterns Using Compressed Fourier Space

Granted: October 28, 2010
Application Number: 20100274521
The process of modeling a complex two-dimensional periodic structure is improved by selectively truncating the Fourier expansion used in the calculation of resulting scatter signature from the model. The Fourier expansion is selectively truncated by determining the contribution for each harmonic order in the Fourier transform of the permittivity function and retaining the harmonic orders with a contribution that is above a threshold. The Fourier space may be compressed so that only the…