Breaking the Resolution Barrier in the Scanning Electron Microscope

William Vanderlinde
2008 Microscopy Today  
Everyone always wants better resolution from his or her microscopes. With semiconductor manufacturers now shipping product with sub-100 nm gates, measuring features and defects has become a challenge, even for the scanning electron microscope (SEM). For metrology below 100 nm, some manufacturers have begun routinely using TEM (transmission electron microscopy) which is tedious and expensive. As a microscopist, I find this quite disappointing since, in principle, the SEM should be capable of
more » ... d be capable of providing more than enough resolution well below 100 nm. Why is it that SEMs with 1 nm spot size can't provide adequate resolution for 100 nm gates? It turns out that at very high magnification, SEM resolution is limited by how the electron beam interacts with the sample rather than simply the spot size of the beam.
doi:10.1017/s1551929500062350 fatcat:miigr3iq6vatvgbauq2py2tbca