Atomic force microscopy: a powerful tool for surface defect and morphology inspection in semiconductor industry
MEMC Electronic Materials Viale Gherzi, 31 28100 Novara, Italy
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 18 December 2003
Published online: 15 July 2004
The industrial use of instruments based on Atomic Force Microscopy that started in the mid 1990's has seen a wide spectrum of applications for product and process controls in semiconductor industry where the continuous effort of smaller and smaller size defect reduction is a driving force of the technological development. The paper will examine a subsection of this world, the electronic grade silicon wafer manufacturing and product development. In this area, the technique is applied to the measurement of surface defect geometry down to a size of a few angstroms and a surface micro-roughness at various areas of inspection from 1E-10 cm2 to 1E-4 cm2. First, a brief description of the measurement principle is given in order to discuss aspects related to accuracy and stability of the technique when micro-roughness values are considered. Then, a few examples involving the inspection of crystal related defects detectable on the silicon wafer surface as well as different textures following various surface-finishing processes will be discussed. Finally, examples of the use of Atomic Force Microscopy on Silicon On Insulator and strained silicon materials will give an insight about the relevance of this technique in the field of New Materials development in the electronics industry.
PACS: 06.20.-f – Metrology / 07.79.Lh – Atomic force microscopes / 61.82.Fk – Semiconductors
© EDP Sciences, 2004