Delivery of First PROVE Photomask System Featuring 193 nm Optics

Carl Zeiss reports the delivery of the first PROVE™ Registration and Overlay Metrology System for photomasks to NuFlare Technology, the world leading supplier of e-beam based maskwriters. It is the kick-off for a series of deliveries in the upcoming months.

After three years development time the first PROVE™ system passed successfully the factory acceptance and was shipped to NuFlare/Japan. PROVE™ is designed to measure image placement and critical dimension on photomasks with sub-nanometer repeatability and accuracy. The newly developed system distinguishes through its 193 nm optics with superior resolution. “We are pleased to receive the first Carl Zeiss registration tool. The excellent resolution and the unprecedented measurement precision of PROVE™ are inevitable to develop and optimise our latest generation e-beam mask writers and enables us to speed up our own tool roadmap,“ states Fumiaki Shigemitsu, Director of NuFlare Technology.

For Carl Zeiss the new registration system perfectly completes the portfolio of mask metrology, review and repair tools. “The first delivery of a PROVE™ system is an important milestone in the project. With NuFlare as first customer we can establish a close interlink between the latest generation registration measurement and e-beam mask writers. Mask makers and wafer fabs will significantly benefit from the resulting masks with lower registration errors,” explains Dr. Oliver Kienzle, Managing Director of Carl Zeiss' Semiconductor Metrology Systems division.

The system

Key component of PROVE™ is the diffraction limited, high resolution imaging optics operating at 193 nm – corresponding to at-wavelength metrology for the majority of current and futures photomask applications. It provides flexible illumination for maximum contrast imaging and enables “in-die” pattern placement analysis on production pattern.

The open concept together with the use of 193 nm wavelength enables a higher NA for pellicle-free applications, including extreme ultraviolet (EUV) masks.


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