Nanovision: A new paradigm for enabling fast optical inspection of nanoscale structures

Michael E. Watts, Rodolfo Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The ability to detect killer defects in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry "in line" will require resolution below 30nm by 2005. It has been assumed that optical inspection, which has been the standard tool for such applications for almost two decades and which has enabled inspection throughputs of the order of 60 wafers per hour, cannot meet this challenge. In this paper we show that the limits of optical inspection have not been reached and that therefore existing, cost-effective, mature laser technology can still be exploited to perform fast optical inspection down to the 15nm range. This breakthrough involves the wave interrogated near-field array, a new paradigm in optical inspection that combines the resolution of near-field detection with the efficiency of far-field detection. Full-physics numerical simulations are used to show that: (1) Resonant photonic antennas can amplify the scattered signal from sub-wavelength defects by over three orders of magnitude. (2) Such antennas can also discern the composition of the defect. (3) Holographic filtering of the array's scattered signal easily locates a single defect within the scanning area of the entire array. A scaled-up experiment at microwave frequencies has been performed to prove the feasibility of this technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventPROCEEDINGS OF SPIE SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering: Process and Materials Characterization and Diagnostics in IC Manufacturing - Santa Clara, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 27 2003Feb 28 2003


  • Bow tie antenna
  • Defect detection
  • Electromagnetic scattering
  • Nanostructures
  • Photonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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