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Friday, 07 March 2014

First methodology to analyse nanometer line pattern images

To meet the increasing demand for smaller, faster, and more powerful devices, a continued decrease in the dimensions of active parts of devices is required. The new methodology is a unique tool developed to address the gap existent in the metrology of sub-10 nm line patterns.

Barcelona, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. At last week’s SPIE Advanced Lithography (San Jose, CA), ICN2 scientists announced pioneering software for line pattern image analysis. The presented methodology is a unique tool developed to address the gap existent in dimensional metrology of sub-10 nm line patterns. This is a methodology to quantify the critical dimensions and defect density of line arrays in regimes where optical inspection cannot reach. The software has been developed by the ICN2 Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures Group, led by ICREA Professor C. M. Sotomayor Torres, in collaboration with University College Cork (Ireland), led by Professor A. Amann.

Directed self-assembly (DSA) of block copolymers (BCPs), a method already compatible with existing electronic technologies, has gained the attention of the lithography community as a most promising avenue to advance miniaturisation. First-generation DSA is on the verge of entering high-volume manufacturing by successfully increasing sub-20 nm contact hole resolution in a cost-effective manner. DSA for reproducible sub-10 nm pitch sizes is a hot research topic in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

One of the main challenges for R&D, material suppliers, or manufacturers is specialised metrology for DSA-based lithography. It is here where the method invented by ICN2/UCC is expected to bring decisive advantages in the characterization of nanometer line patterns, one of the key elements in circuit manufacturing. The presented methodology is state-of-the-art, user-friendly, and customizable software successfully addressing this issue, complimentary to conventional optical inspection tools.

This R&D project is in validation stage and is available for development in joint ventures with partners interested in materials, metrology, manufacturing, and applications involving DSA.

Download here the software’s informative brochure

About ICN2

ICN2 is a highly specialized and renowned research center. Its research lines focus on the newly discovered physical and chemical properties that arise from the fascinating behavior of matter at the nanoscale. The trustees of ICN2 are the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat), the CSIC, and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

The Institute promotes collaboration among scientists from diverse backgrounds (physics, chemistry, biology, engineering) to develop basic and applied research, always seeking interactions with local and global industry. ICN2 also trains researchers in nanotechnology, develops intense activity to facilitate the uptake of nanotechnology in industry, and promotes networking among scientists, engineers, technicians, business people, society, and policy makers.

The recent discoveries in nanoscience might support a change of paradigm in areas as relevant as medicine, energy, or microelectronics. The excellence of research developed at ICN2 has an enormous potential to change our everyday life. For this reason, the Institute is deeply involved in strategic international initiatives, such as being one of the nine original promoters of the Graphene Flagship.

About University College Cork

The University College Cork (UCC) was originally founded in 1845 as "Queen's College Cork". UCC is one of Ireland's oldest institutions of higher education. Over 150 years later, it is internationally acclaimed as one of the top 2% of research institutions in the world. UCC’s mission is to advance excellence in teaching, research, and the quality of the student experience, making it a contemporary university with a global outlook.

About Tyndall National Institute

Established with a mission to support industry and academia in driving research to market, Tyndall National Institute is one of Europe’s leading research centres in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) research and development and the largest facility of its type in Ireland. Established in 2004 as a successor to the National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC, founded in 1982) at University College Cork, the Institute employs over 460 researchers, engineers, and support staff, with a full-time graduate cohort of 135 students generating over 200 peer-reviewed publications each year.