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1. (WO2019005542) AMÉLIORATION D'IMAGE POUR L'ALIGNEMENT PAR MÉLANGE D'ÉCLAIRAGES INCOHÉRENTS
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Field

[0001] Embodiments of the present disclosure generally relate to the field of maskless lithography and more specifically to reducing measurement error of an actual location of alignment mark and/or feature on a substrate.

Description of the Related Art

[0002] Microiithography techniques are generally employed to create electrical features on a substrate. A light-sensitive photoresist is typicaiiy applied to at least one surface of the substrate. Then, either a photolithography mask or pattern generator like a micro-mirror array exposes selected areas of the light-sensitive photoresist as part of a pattern. Light causes chemical changes to the photoresist in the selected areas to prepare these selected areas for subsequent material removal and/or material addition processes to create the electrical features. The precise placement of the electrical features upon the substrate determines the quality of the electrical interconnections.

[0003] Alignment techniques are implemented during manufacturing processes to ensure correct alignment of the various layers with one another. Typicaiiy, alignment marks are utilized in the layers to assist in the alignment of features in different layers. An increased accuracy in identification of a location of the alignment mark(s) may provide a more accurate alignment of the layers and therefore reduction in overlay error.

[0004] Therefore, there is a need in the art for increased accuracy in aligning layers.

SUMMARY

[0005] Embodiments of the present disclosure generally relate to determining a more accurate location of alignment mark and/or feature on a substrate. For example, in one embodiment, a method is provided that includes opening a camera shutter in a maskless lithography system. Light is directed from a configuration of non-adjacent mirrors in a mirror array towards a first substrate layer. An image of the first substrate layer on a camera is captured and accumulated. Light is directed and images are captured repeatedly using different configurations of non-adjacent mirrors to cover an entire fieid-of-vievv (FOV) of the camera on the first substrate layer. Thereafter, the camera shutter is closed and the accumulated image is stored in memory.

[0006] in another embodiment, a method is provided that opens a camera shutter in a maskless lithography system. As substrate moves, light is directed from at least one configuration of non-adjacent mirrors to the moving substrate. Images are captured and accumulated, continuously, in the camera to cover an entire camera field-of-view (FOV) on a first substrate layer on the moving substrate. Thereafter, the camera shutter is closed; and the accumulated image is stored in memory,

[0007] in yet another embodiment, a lithography system is provided that includes a light source. Also included is a mirror array that is adapted to have a configuration of non-adjacent mirrors, to receive light from the light source and is adapted to reflect light towards a substrate layer. A beam splitter is adapted to receive the light reflected from the mirror array and light reflected from the substrate layer. A camera is coupled to the beam splitter and is adapted to capture and accumulate images on the substrate layer that is visible due to the light reflected from the substrate layer. A processor is coupled to the light source, the mirror array to select the configuration of non-adjacent mirrors, the beam splitter, and the camera.

[0008] Other embodiments of this disclosure are provided that include other methods, apparatuses and systems having features similar to the apparatus and method described herein,

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present disclosure can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the disclosure, briefly summarized above, may be understood, reference is made herein to embodiments, some of which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this disclosure and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the disclosure may admit to other equally effective embodiments, [0010] Fig. 1 depicts a perspective view of an apparatus in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein.

[0011] Fig. 2 depicts an example of illumination rays directed towards a substrate in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein.

[0012] Fig. 3 depicts an example of a location offset of an alignment mark on a substrate layer due to light that is not normal to the substrate.

[0013] Figs. 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D depict simulated images illuminated by normal light reflected from an isolated mirror at different focus levels.

[0014] Fig. 5 depicts an embodiment of a high-level block diagram of a semi-isolated pattern generation system for reducing measurement error of an actual location of alignment mark and/or feature on a substrate in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein.

[0015] Fig. 6 depicts an embodiment of a method of detecting layer offset in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein.

[0016] Fig. 7 depicts an embodiment of a method of detecting layer offset in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein.

[0017] To facilitate understanding, identical reference numerals have been used, wherever possible, to designate identical elements that are common to the figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a more thorough understanding of this disclosure. As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, however, various changes using different configurations may be made without departing from the scope of this material. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in order to avoid obscuring this material. Thus, this disclosure is not considered limited to the particular illustrative embodiments shown in the specification and ail such alternate embodiments are intended to be included in the scope of the appended claims.

[0019] The wavelengths used to illuminate the alignment mark(s) and/or feature(s) are different than the wavelengths in which a photoresist is sensitive. For example, a typical wavelength used to expose the photoresist to create a pattern is 403nm. Therefore a wavelength of 403nm is not used for illumination in alignment. Examples of wavelengths that can be used for illumination are about 4G0nrn to about 700 nm (excluding about 403nm). Some typical colors that may be used in illumination are red (about 650nm), amber (about 570nm to about 620nm) and blue (about 475nm),

[0020] Fig. 1 depicts a perspective view of an system 100 in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein. The system 100 includes a micro-mirror array 102, a light source 104, projection optics 108, a camera 1 14, a beam-splitter 109, and a processor 1 16. The system 100 also includes a stage 1 12.

[0021] The processor 1 16 controls the light source 104, the camera 1 14 and the micro-mirror array 102. A plurality of mirrors in the micro- mirror array 102 is individually controlled by signals from the processor 1 16. in one embodiment, the micro-mirror array 102 may be a DLP9500-type digital mirror device made by Texas instruments incorporated of Dallas, Tx. The plurality of mirrors can have a number of mirrors arranged in many different ways. For example, in one embodiment, the plurality of mirrors is arranged in 1920 columns and 1080 rows. [0022] Mirrors that are "turned ON" are defined herein as mirrors that have been positioned by the processor 1 16 to receive and redirect light towards the substrate 1 10. Mirrors that are "turned OFF" are defined herein as mirrors that have been positioned by the processor 1 16 so that they do not transmit light towards the substrate 1 10. Each mirror in the mirror array may be configured to be individually acfuate-able (or digitally controlled) from an inactive position (i.e., turned "OFF") to an active position (i.e., turned "ON").

[0023] in an embodiment, the processor 1 16 sends instructions to the micro-mirror array 102 for at least one configuration of semi-isolated mirrors to reflect light towards the substrate 1 10. "Configuration" and "pattern" are used interchangeably herein. A "configuration of semi-isolated mirrors" as used herein is defined as a configuration of mirrors where any mirror that is turned ON and has an adjacent mirror is only adjacent to mirrors that are turned OFF. When a mirror is turned ON, mirrors immediately adjacent to that mirror are turned OFF. For example, the semi-isolated configuration can include a sequence such as ON, OFF, ON, etc. or a sequence such as ON, OFF, OFF, ON, etc,

[0024] The camera 1 14 may include an optical sensor (not shown), for example a charge coupling device, to read at least one alignment mark 120 on the substrate 1 10 to register the substrate 1 10 to the stage 1 12 and the micro-mirror array 102. The camera 1 14 may be coupled to the processor 1 16 to facilitate the determination of the relative locations of the alignment mark(s) and/or feature(s) on the substrate 1 10.

[0025] The stage 1 12 may support the substrate 1 10 and move the substrate 1 10 relative to the micro-mirror array 102. The stage 1 12 uses at least one motor 1 18 to move the substrate 1 10 relative to the micro-mirror array 102 in the X-direction and/or the Y-direction. The stage 1 12 may also include at least one linear encoder (not shown) to provide positional information to the processor 1 16 regarding changes in the position of the stage 1 12 in the X-direction and/or Y-direction.

[0026] Light 05 travels from the bottom surface 107 of the micro-mirror array 102 within an optical pathway 106 through the projection optics 108 towards the substrate 1 10. Light 103 is reflected from the substrate 1 10, goes through beamsplitter 109 towards the camera 1 14. The projection optics 108 may include a reduction ratio to reduce the size of the light 105 upon the substrate 1 10. The reduction ratio may be in a range from 2: 1 to 10: 1. In this regard, the projection optics 108 may include at least one lens including at least one convex surface and/or concave surface between the substrate 1 10 and the micro-mirror array 102. The projection optics 108 may include a material of high transmissibility (e.g., quartz) for various wavelengths of the light 105 to focus the light 105 upon the substrate 1 10.

[0027] Fig. 2 depicts an example of illumination rays directed towards a substrate 1 10 in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein. Fig. 2 depicts a substrate 1 10 having an alignment mark 202 and an alignment mark 203. Light rays 204 that are not normal (i.e., non-perpendicular) to the alignment mark 202 illuminate the alignment mark 202. Image 206 shows a simulation of the effects of illumination by non-perpendicular light rays 204. Specifically, a pupil 207 in image 206 is a representation of an illuminated portion of the alignment mark 202. The pupil 207 is offset from the center of the image 206, A pupil that is offset from the center of an image simulation is an indication that an identified location of the alignment mark is offset from the actual location of the alignment mark.

[0028] Light ray 210 represents light that is normal to alignment mark 203. Image 208 shows a simulation of the effects of illumination by perpendicular light ray 1 18. Specifically, image 208 includes a pupil 209 that is at the center of image 208. The centrally located pupil 209 in image 208 indicates there is little or no offset of the identified pupil 209 location with the actual location of pupil 209.

[0029] Fig. 3 depicts another view of the alignment mark 202 on substrate 1 10 and a location offset due to non-normal light 204. For simplicity, Fig. 3 only shows the location offset in one dimension (i.e., along the X-axis (i.e., "Δχ")). Fig. 3 shows that non-normal light can produce an offset that can also be affected by a change in image focus (represented by "ΔΓ ).

[0030] Figs. 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D depict simulated images 400, 404, 402, and 406 respectively that are illuminated by normal light reflected from an isolated mirror at different focus levels. Because each of the images 400, 404, 402, and 406 are captured using light that is normal the pupils in each of these images is at the center.

[0031] The pupil 401 depicted in Fig. 4A is larger than the pupils 405, 403 and 407. As the size of a pupil increases so too does the amount of light that is not normal to the illuminated image. The radius, from the center of the pupil 401 , of light is greater than the radius of light in pupils 405, 403 and 407. Light on an outer periphery of a pupil is not normal to the surface of the alignment mark 120. The greater the radius of the pupil then the greater the outer periphery and amount of non-normal light in the pupil.

[0032] Pupil 403, in Fig, 4C, is a simulated image at a different focus than that of pupil 401. Pupil 403 also has a smaller radius and less non-normal light than pupil 401 , In Fig. 4D, pupil 407 has a positive defocus above the focus of pupil 403; and in Fig. 4B, pupil 405 has a negative defocus below the focus of pupil 403. Although pupils 401 , 405, 403, and 407 have different foci, Figs. 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D show that images due to normal light are relatively insensitive to focus variations.

[0033] Fig. 5 depicts an embodiment of a high-level block diagram of a semi-isolated pattern generation system 500 for reducing location offset errors due to focus variation and sample thickness in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein. For example, the semi-isolated pattern generation system 500 is suitable for use in performing the methods of Figs. 6 and 7. The semi-isolated pattern generation system 500 includes a processor 510 as well as a memory 504 for storing control programs and the like.

[0034] In various embodiments, memory 504 also includes programs that select and change a semi-isolated pattern configuration (e.g., "semi-isolation pattern module 512"). In other embodiments, the memory 504 includes programs (not shown) for controlling movement of stage 1 12.

[0035] The processor 510 cooperates with conventional support circuitry 508 such as power supplies, dock circuits, cache memory and the like as well as circuits that assist in executing the software routines 506 stored in the memory 504. As such, it is contemplated that some of the process steps discussed herein as software processes can be loaded from a storage device (e.g., an optical drive, floppy drive, disk drive, etc.) and implemented within the memory 504 and operated by the processor 510. Thus, various steps and methods of the present disclosure can be stored on a computer readable medium. The semi-isolated pattern generation system 500 also contains input-output circuitry 502 that forms an interface between the various functional elements communicating with the matching system 500 as well as a micro-mirror control system to load and display semi-isolated patterns on the micro-mirror array.

[0036] Although Fig. 5 depicts an semi-isolated pattern generation system 500 that is programmed to perform various control functions in accordance with the present disclosure, the term computer is not limited to just those integrated circuits referred to in the art as computers, but broadly refers to computers, processors, microcontrollers, microcomputers, programmable logic controllers, application specific integrated circuits, and other programmable circuits, and these terms are used interchangeably herein, in addition, although one semi-isolated pattern generation system 500 is depicted, that depiction is for brevity only, it is appreciated that each of the methods described herein can be utilized in separate systems or in the same system by software changes.

[0037] In one embodiment, the camera 1 14 captures the images in the camera 1 14. While the camera shutter is open, a first configuration of mirrors that are turned ON illuminate the substrate and captures an image. The image captured by the camera 1 14 is pixelated because each pixel in the camera acts as a sensor some of the camera pixels will not receive illumination reflected from the substrate (i.e., due to some of the mirrors are turned OFF). While the shutter is open, other configurations of mirrors are turned ON for illumination of the substrate; and capture of pixelated images by the camera 1 14. Each image accumulated can also be referred to as a "frame." The shutter is dosed and the captured images are accumulated by combining each of the frames. In one embodiment, the camera shutter is kept open and the images are accumulated and processed in the camera 1 14 after the camera shutter is dosed. In another embodiment, the camera shutter is dosed and opened for each frame; and the accumulated images are sent to processor 1 16 for processing.

[0038] After the images are acquired image processing is performed. We also know the shape of the alignment mark and we correlate the image on the camera with the known alignment design. The correlation provides approximate position with respect to the center of the FOV of the camera 1 14. Based upon the location of the image with respect to the center of the FOV of the camera 1 14 the location of the alignment mark can be determined. Because the design of the alignment mark is known, the edges of the alignment mark can be detected to determine the shape of the alignment mark in the image. The processed image of the alignment mark can be compared to the design mark.

[0039] Fig. 6 depicts an embodiment of a method 600 of reducing location offset of an alignment mark(s) and/or feature(s) in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein. At block 602, a camera shutter on the camera 1 14 is opened to capture images from lit portions of the substrate 1 10.

[0040] At block 604, light 105 from the light source 104 is directed towards the mirror array on the bottom surface 107 of the micro-mirror array 102. The processor 1 16 has turned some mirrors ON in the mirror array and some mirrors OFF to create a semi-isolated pattern configuration. For example, the first mirror can be turned ON and the mirrors immediately adjacent to that mirror are turned OFF (so that the sequence is ON, OFF, ON, OFF, etc.). The mirrors that are

turned ON direct light towards the substrate 1 10 and light reflected from the substrate 1 10 is exposure light can illuminate an alignment mark. Mirrors that are turned OFF do not direct light towards the substrate 1 10. Those portions of the alignment mark 120 or feature on the substrate 1 10 that are illuminated are done so from light that is substantially normal to the illuminated portions of the substrate.

[0041] At block 606, the camera 1 14 starts to capture and accumulate images of the illuminated portions of the alignment mark 120. At block 608, the processor 1 16 changes the current semi-isolated pattern configuration to a different semi-isolated pattern configuration during image capturing and accumulating. For example, the different semi-isolated pattern can be the first mirror OFF and the second mirror ON (so that the sequence is OFF, ON, OFF, ON, etc.). Because the semi-isolated pattern is different, different portions of the alignment mark 120 on the substrate 1 10 are illuminated. The camera 1 14 captures and accumulates an image of the illuminated portions of the alignment mark 120. The processor 1 16 repeatedly changes the semi-isolated pattern configuration to illuminate different portions of alignment mark 120 within camera FOV and captures and accumulates the images of the illuminated portions until the entire FOV of the camera 1 14 is covered.

[0042] After all semi-isolated patterns are loaded and displayed on the micro-mirror the camera shutter is closed at block 610 on camera 1 14. Captured and accumulated images on the camera form a complete picture of the alignment mark 120 in the camera 1 14 FOV. The image is then stored in the memory 504 and processed in the processor 510 to find the location of the alignment mark within the camera FOV. image processing algorithms such as correlation or edge detection can be used to find the location of the alignment mark.

[0043] Fig. 7 depicts an embodiment of a method 700 of detecting location offset of an alignment mark(s) and/or feature(s) in accordance with embodiments disclosed herein. At block 702, a camera shutter on the camera 1 14 is opened in preparation of capturing and accumulating images in the camera 1 14 from lit

portions of the substrate 1 10. At biock 704, the processor 1 16 moves the stage 1 12 relative to the micro-mirror array 102 as indicated above while the camera shutter is open. The processor 1 18 directs the stage 1 12 to slowly move (i.e., to move at a speed which allows all of the images to be captured) in a direction that is parallel to the X-direction and/or parallel to the Y-direction.

[0044] At biock 706, light 105 from the light source 104 is directed towards the mirror array on the bottom surface 107 of the micro-mirror array 102. The processor 1 18 has turned some mirrors ON in the mirror array and some mirrors OFF to create a semi-isolated pattern configuration. For example, the first mirror can be turned ON and the mirrors immediately adjacent to that mirror are turned OFF (so that the sequence is ON, OFF, ON, OFF, etc.). The mirrors that are turned ON direct light towards the alignment mark 120 on the substrate 1 10. Those portions of the alignment mark 120 or feature on the substrate 1 10 that are illuminated are done so from light that is substantially normal to the illuminated portions of the substrate. At least one configuration of non-adjacent mirrors is illuminated while the stage 1 12 is moving. In one embodiment, multiple configurations of non-adjacent mirrors (i.e., the processor 1 16 changes the current semi-isolated pattern to at least one other semi-isolated pattern) are turned ON while the stage 1 12 is moving.

[0045] At block 708, the camera 1 14 continually captures and accumulates images of the illuminated portions of the alignment mark 120 in camera 104. The images captured are those portions of the alignment mark 120 that are illuminated. During this process ail captured images are accumulated in the camera to create an image sampled within the camera FOV. At biock 710, the camera shutter is dosed to stop image accumulation on the camera 104. The image is then stored in the memory 504 and processed in the processor 510 to find the location of the alignment mark within the camera FOV. Image processing algorithms such as correlation or edge detection can be used to find the location of the alignment mark.

[0046] Although aspects have been described herein as utilizing methods and systems for increasing accuracy in layer alignment by reducing measurement error(s) in the actual location of an alignment mark(s), these descriptions are not intended in any way to limit the scope of the material described herein.

[0047] While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope thereof is determined by the claims that follow.