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INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS PUBLISHING

MEASUREMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Meas. Sci. Technol. 15 (2004) 35–43

PII: S0957-0233(04)65357-4

Defect detection in unpolished Si wafers by digital shearography

Ganesha Udupa 1 ,BKA Ngoi 1 , H C Freddy Goh 2 and M N Yusoff 1

1 Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology Centre, School of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Avenue, 639798, Singapore

2 International Semiconductors Products Pte. Ltd, 629013, Singapore

Received 24 June 2003, in final form 9 September 2003, accepted for publication 16 September 2003 Published 14 October 2003 Online at stacks.iop.org/MST/15/35 (DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/15/1/005)

Abstract Defects in silicon wafers have been of great scientific and technological interest since before the earliest days of the silicon transistor. Recently much attention has been focused on crystal originated pits on the polished surface of the wafer. These defects have been shown to contribute to gate dielectric breakdown. The present work relates to surface and/or subsurface defect inspection systems for semiconductor industries and particularly to an inspection system for defects such as swirl defects and groups of particles in unpolished silicon wafers before the wafer reclamation and/or the wafer fabrication process using a digital shearography technique. The method described here relates specifically to semiconductor wafers, but may be generalized to any other samples. In the present work, surface or subsurface defects are detected and evaluated by stressing the silicon wafer while looking for defect-induced anomalies in a fringe pattern, generated by the interference of two speckle patterns, in the CCD camera and digital image processing.

Keywords: COPs, digital shearography, semiconductor defect detection

(Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version)

1. Introduction

Silicon wafers are widely used in the semiconductor and microelectronics industries. With this material, there is an immense need to obtain a defect-free highly polished surface for improved yield and performance of the micro- components. The current practice in the semiconductor industry is to inspect the wafers for any surface defects only at the end of the final polishing stage. At this stage, the subsurface defects are visible (as they have been exposed by polishing) as minute spots forming spiral rings or ‘swirls’. These subsurface defects, which cannot be detected before the reclamation process or wafer fabrication process, cause a high wafer rejection rate at the end of the finishing stage. Unfortunately, there is no instrument currently available to inspect the ‘prime’/‘test’ wafers at the subsurface level before wafer fabrication/reclamation. Several techniques such as x-ray, atomic force mi- croscopy, scanning tunnelling microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and acoustic scanning electron microscopy have

been utilized for the surface defect characterization [1]. How- ever, in the semiconductor industry, the main challenge lies in the characterization of subsurface as well as surface defects. There has been very little research work in the characterization of subsurface defects in Si wafers. Optical interferometric techniques have been used for non- destructive testing (NDT) of objects. Two of these techniques are electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI) and speckle shearing interferometry, also known as shearography. These techniques have been used to detect hidden defects in aircraft parts, turbine blades, space vehicles, automobiles and many other products [2]. Shearography is a laser optical method, which is suited for either NDT or for strain analysis. In contrast to holography, which measures surface displacements, shearography measures derivatives of surface displacements. Since strains are functions of displacement derivatives, shearography allows strains to be determined without numerical differentiating displacement data. Defects in objects normally create strain concentrations; it is easier to correlate defects with strain anomalies

0957-0233/04/010035+09$30.00

© 2004 IOP Publishing Ltd

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G Udupa et al

using shearography than displacement anomalies applying holography. Furthermore, rigid body motions do not produce strain, thus shearography is insensitive to such motions and does not need to adopt any particular device for vibration isolation [2]. The bare, ground, lapped or etched wafer surfaces are used to inspect the subsurface defects by digital shearography [3]. The qualitative inspection of subsurface defects and the principles and method of inspection are described in this paper. The quantitative analysis and serial automatic measurement of small areas are being carried out using a macro focus lens at different locations on the wafer to detect distributed subsurface wafer particles of micron size.

2. Inspection in semiconductor wafer manufacturing

The Semiconductor Industry Association’s (SIA) International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors [4] identifies lack of progress in the inspection and characterization of defects and particles on wafers to be a potential barrier to device miniaturization. The roadmap specifies that by 2005, 30 nm particles must be detectable on bare silicon and nonmetallic films, 39 nm particles on metallic films and 100 nm particles on wafer backsides, for which no solutions currently exist. Semiconductor wafer manufacturers already use lasers to detect particles on expensive silicon wafers, which contain hundreds of chips. But the manufacturing operation must be shut down while workers try to determine what the particles are made of and where they came from, especially when large quantities are found. The source of the particles must be eliminated before production can resume. As the features in circuits are getting smaller every 18 months or so, the size of a killer defect is getting smaller and smaller. Because circuits in new computer chips are only slightly wider than the particles, the contaminants are large enough to short-circuit the tiny ‘wires’ in the chips. With the need to detect smaller defects, the costs of inspecting wafers are skyrocketing. In order for new advances to be implemented in production environments, improvements in sensitivity must be achieved. The processing cost of silicon wafers and the control of defects (at sub-micron size and, especially, those present at subsurface level) on these wafers are most critical to the wafer fabrication/reclamation industries. It has been reported that millions of dollars were lost each year owing to the failure of detecting these defects in silicon wafers prior to the wafer fabrication/reclamation processes. The wafers produced by the wafer fabrication process are called as ‘prime’ wafers. Wafers which fail to meet certain standards, will be rejected at different stages of the fabrication process. These rejected wafers are known as ‘test’ wafers. ‘Test’ wafers are useful for monitoring the operation of the device manufacturing steps during trial runs before the start of actual device manufacturing using the ‘prime’ wafers. ‘Test’ wafers can be used 5–6 times for trail runs and, prior to each trial, they have to be processed or reclaimed (stripping and lapping through to fine polishing). Wafer reclamation is a re-processing technology used on rejected wafers during the wafer fabrication. In wafer reclamation industries, a general rule is that a wafer with a subsurface defect at a depth of 15 µm and a defect size of more than 10 µm in diameter is considered to

36

be a defective wafer. This is because, each time the wafer is reclaimed, about 15 µm thickness of wafer will be processed and inspected for particles. The study of defects in silicon crystals has been an integral part of silicon research activity from the earliest days of the silicon transistor. In the mid-1970s, Rozgonyi [5] noted the importance of suitable diagnostics in detecting and identifying the various types of defects in the crystal. Over the last two decades, many new diagnostic tools have been developed and effectively employed. This led the industry to a greatly improved understanding of defects in silicon and resulted in a significant reduction in yield losses while the number of processing steps increased more than eightfold [6]. Typically, a semiconductor wafer may have a very large number of defects, of varying patterns, such as swirl, cluster or random particles, voids, scratches, cracks or damage, which may have resulted from a great number of causes, such as crystal pulling during crystal growth or improper control of process parameters during the lapping, etching and polishing processes. Among all of these, the most interesting were the ‘swirl’ defects, which were attributed to vacancy clustering such as voids or vacancy-type dislocation loops, until their discovery by electron microscope. Swirl defects are classified into two types: ‘A’ (larger) and ‘B’ (smaller). In 1975, ‘A’ defects were identified as interstitial- type dislocation loops by electron microscopy, although ‘B’ defects could not be detected [7]. The practitioners in the production lines prefer abbreviations like ‘COP’ (crystal originated particles or pits) or ‘LPD’ (light point defects). The COPs have attracted much interest because they may decrease reliability and manufacturing yield of semiconductor devices. Recently, COPs have been recognized as surface defects or micro-pits generated during the crystal ingot growing process and detected by particle counters after surface cleaning processes [8]. In order to increase the yield in the manufacturing process, the said defects are to be detected at an early stage of the process as well as controlled during the production process. In the mid 1980s, surface (visual) defects (scratches, voids, particles, masking errors, etc) were considered to have the greatest impact on semiconductor yield. This led to the development of automatic surface defect detection equipment and fabrication procedures designed to identify, control and eliminate sources of surface defects. Commercial wafer defect inspection systems, such as KLA’s Tencor instrument, are currently available to surface inspect the defects at the end of the manufacturing process in semiconductor industries. Unfortunately the same level of success has not been achieved for subsurface (non-visual) defects. Optical or e-beam techniques that have been used successfully to identify and remove sources of surface defects cannot be applied to subsurface defects. Some of these defects are generally associated with open contacts or vias, gate dielectric defects or parametric variation, and residues or voids within the device structures. Without tools to identify, measure and analyse these defects, attempts to eliminate them are limited to trial and error efforts. As a result, subsurface defects comprise 65% of all the reasons for yield loss [9]. So it is very important to detect and analyse the subsurface defects in the wafer before making them into devices. An attempt has been made here for

Defect detection in unpolished Si wafers by digital shearography

Unpolished Silicon Wafers Unpolished Silicon Wafers Silicon wafers Polishing no yes Defect? (whole batch) yes
Unpolished Silicon Wafers
Unpolished Silicon Wafers
Silicon wafers
Polishing
no
yes
Defect?
(whole batch)
yes
no
Polishing
(good wafers only)
Defect?
READY FOR IC FABRICATION
RECYCLE
RECYCLE
BIN
BIN
Significant reduction
of defective wafers &
Cost savings
Patterned Wafer
Conventional process
Our process

Figure 1. The flowchart for in-line metrology of subsurface defect detection for semiconductor wafer manufacturing/reclamation industries.

the first time to detect subsurface defects in an unpolished Si- wafer by digital shearography. Figure 1 shows the flowchart for in-line metrology of subsurface defect detection proposed to benefit the semiconductor wafer manufacturing/reclamation industries.

3. Principles of digital shearography

Digital shearography falls in the family of digital speckle pattern interferometry (DSPI). Digital shearography is an optical interferometric technique that measures surface strain concentrations caused by surface and subsurface flaws or defects due to some sort of load, usually either thermal, vacuum or vibration excitation. In shearography one object point splits into two in the image plane by a shearing device, thus two laterally sheared images are observed using CCD camera. The shearing device may use a Michelson interferometric principle or a double refractive prism. The two laterally sheared images interfere with each other producing a random interference pattern commonly known as a speckle pattern. The pattern is random, and depends on the characteristics of the surface of the object. When the object is deformed, by temperature, pressure or other means, the random interference pattern will change. The amount of the change depends on the soundness of the object. A comparison of the random speckle patterns for the deformed and undeformed states, and their respective fringe patterns, gives information about the structural integrity of the object. A flaw or defect in the object usually induces a strain concentration which is translated into an anomaly in the fringe pattern. The method is called shearography because one image of the object is laterally displaced, or sheared, relative to the other image. Digital speckle shearing interferometry or digital shearography uses a CCD camera and computer image processing to produce the fringe anomaly patterns indicative of the defects in objects. The applicability of shearing interferometry to measuring deformations is further enhanced using phase shifting (also called phase stepping). Under stable conditions, phase shifting interferometers have a higher sensitivity than systems without phase shifting. Phase shifting interferometers calculate the phase distribution from several interference patterns, which is then displayed on a video monitor.

Shearographic image may be mathematically represented as [10]

(1)

where I is the intensity distribution of the speckle pattern received at the image plane of the camera, I 0 is the intensity of the laterally sheared images (dc intensity), µ is the amplitude

of modulation of the speckle patterns (visibility) and φ is the random phase angle. After the object is deformed, the intensity distribution becomes

(2)

I = I 0 [1 + µ cos+ φ)]

I = I 0 (1 + µ cos φ)

where φ denotes phase change due to surface deformation (change in the optical path length of light scattered from two neighbouring points). The difference of intensities I and I is

I d = I I = 2 I 0 [µ sin+ φ/2) sin( φ/2)]

(3)

where I d manifests itself as a fringe pattern in which dark fringe corresponds to

φ = 2n π

with n = 0, 1, 2, 3

Bright fringes correspond to φ = (2n + 1.

It may be shown that φ is related to the relative

neighbouring points δ x is the amount of

displacement u , δv, δw) of the two P ( x , y , z ) and P ( x + δ x , y , z ), where shearing in the x direction, as follows:

φ = 2π/λ( A δ u + B δv + C δw)

 

(4)

where (u , v, w) and

(u

+

δ u , v

+

δv, w

+ δw)

are the

displacement vectors

of

P ( x , y , z )

and

P ( x

+

δ x , y , z ).

A , B and C are sensitivity factors that are related to the positions of the illumination point P s ( x s , y s , z s ) and the camera P c ( x 0 , y 0 , z 0 ), as represented in figure 2, and

A = ( x

x 0 )/ R 0 + ( x

x s )/ R s

B = ( y

y 0 )/ R 0 + ( y

x s )/ R s

C = ( z y 0 )/ R 0 + ( z x s )/ R s

2

R

0

= x + y + z

0

0

2

2

2

0

and

R

2

s

= x

2 + y

s

2

s

+ z s 2 .

When surface points are considered, φ is related to the displacement derivative through the following:

φ = 2π/λ[ A δ u x + B δv/δ x + C δw/δ x ]δ x

or

(5)

φ = 2π/λ[ A u /∂ x + B ∂v/∂ x + C ∂w/∂ x ]δ x

where λ is the wavelength. If the beams are confined in x z plane and θ is the angle between the illumination beam and the z -axis (imaging direction), the sensitivity factor B becomes zero and the measurement is insensitive to ∂v/∂ x . For measuring the slope (first order derivative) of the out-of-plane displacement as in our experimental configuration, the phase changes due to surface deformation in this case can be expressed as

φ = 2π/λ[(sin θ )∂ u /∂ x + (1 + cos θ )∂w/∂ x ]δ x .

(6)

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G Udupa et al

P s (x s , y s , z s ) P (x, y, z)
P s (x s , y s , z s )
P (x, y, z)
P c (x 0 , y 0 , z 0 )
P (x+u, y+v, z+w)
X
Before
Y
Loading
Deformation
after loading
Z
Figure 2. Position of a point on a specimen in relation to
illumination and camera point before and after the deformation.

For normal illumination θ = 0, equation (6) becomes

φ = 4π/λ[∂w/∂ x ]δ x .

If the shear is along y direction, then

φ = 4π/λ[∂w/∂ y ]δ y .

4. Description of the wafer defect detection system

In the present work, surface and subsurface defects are detected

and evaluated by stressing the silicon wafer while looking for defect-induced anomalies in a fringe pattern, generated by the interference of two speckle patterns, in the CCD camera and digital image processing. Figure 3 shows a schematic

diagram of the measuring system based on an out-of-plane

displacement gradient sensitive configuration. The major parts are the illumination source, shearographic head and the image acquisition. The source of light is a 35 mW He–Ne laser at a wavelength of 632.8 nm. The shearographic head consists of a CCD camera and the shearing element. The shearing element is an interferometer in Michelson arrangement. A beam splitter and two adjustable mirrors (M3 and M4), followed by a zoom lens, image the wafer onto the CCD camera. The direction and amount of shear are altered by tilting the mirror M4 through the required angle. The CCD array has 752 (H) × 582 (V) pixels. A macro video zoom lens (18–108 mm, f 2.5), with the working distance variable between a maximum of infinity (without close up lens) and a minimum of 140 mm (with close up lens), is fixed to the CCD camera (2/3 format). The zoom lens can be manually adjusted for focus and aperture control. With the working distance at about 600 mm, the zoom lens and camera were capable of recording a field of view that ranged from 198 mm × 264 mm at the low magnification to 33 mm × 44 mm at the high magnification. Using the close up lens, the size of the field of view is about 6 mm × 8 mm at a working distance of 140 mm. To view a 200 mm diameter wafer, the camera-to- object distance was about 600 mm. The camera was connected

to a Pentium 4 computer for image acquisition and analysis.

The wafer under test is illuminated by a laser beam through

a collimator and a spatial filter (SF2). A 10×-microscope objective combined with 25 µm pinhole spatial filter (SF2)

is used to get the required beam expansion. The scattered

light from the wafer is imaged on a CCD camera through the

38

Mirror M1 He-Ne Laser Spatial filter SF1 Collimator PC CCD Camera Wafer Mount Zoom Lens
Mirror M1
He-Ne Laser
Spatial filter SF1
Collimator
PC
CCD
Camera
Wafer Mount
Zoom
Lens
Mirror M3
Beam
Splitter
Wafer
Mirror M4
Thermal
Loading Device
Spatial filter SF2

Mirror M2

Figure 3. A schematic diagram of the wafer defect detection system sensitive to out-of-plane displacement gradient.

shearing element. The shearing element allows a coherent superposition of two laterally displaced images of the wafer in the image plane. The lateral displacement is called the shear of the images. The superposition of the two images is called the shearogram, which is an interferogram of an object wave with the sheared object wave as a reference wave. Two such interferograms are recorded for different loading conditions of the wafer sample. The loading should induce some deformation or alter the deformation state of the surface of the sample. Typical loading methods are thermal, acoustical or vacuum and could be applied in a static or dynamic way. In the present work, an infrared lamp is used as the source of thermal loading. Figure 4 shows the experimental set-up of the wafer defect detection system. The absolute difference of two shearograms recorded for different loading situations of the wafer results in an interference fringe pattern, which is directly correlated to the difference in deformation state. Defects inside the wafer may alter the local surface deformation induced by the loading and result in a disturbance of the (more or less regular) loading fringes. This allows the detection and classification of defects using the shearographic fringe images.

5. Results and discussion

5.1. Study of surface defects in Si wafer

Before inspecting unpolished wafers for subsurface defects, a study was carried out to investigate the nature and existence

Defect detection in unpolished Si wafers by digital shearography

Zoom Lens Mirror 4 CCD Mirror 3 Camera Mirror 1 Collimator SF1 Mirror 2
Zoom Lens
Mirror 4
CCD
Mirror 3
Camera
Mirror 1
Collimator
SF1
Mirror 2

TOP VIEW

SF2 He- Ne Laser Wafer mount Unpolished Wafer IR Lamp
SF2
He- Ne Laser
Wafer mount
Unpolished
Wafer
IR Lamp

FRONT VIEW

Figure 4. The experimental set-up of the wafer defect detection system.

of COPs on the processed wafer surface. First the polished wafers were inspected using a wafer inspection system, in this case a KLA Tencor instrument. The processed wafers were subsequently measured using a Wyko optical profiler to study the defects quantitatively. Figure 5 shows a ‘swirl’ defect revealed after final polishing as seen by the KLA Tencor instrument. These are micro-defects, located in a spiral pattern in wafers cut perpendicular to the crystal growth direction. The wafer defect map obtained by this instrument does not show whether the defects are of class ‘A’ or ‘B’. The instrument shows these defects in the form of black dots on the wafer map. To classify these defects requires a high magnification scanning electron microscope, which shows clearly the defects as in figure 6 [11]. The A-swirl defect (the black–white contrasts) are larger size defects much smaller in number whereas the B-swirl defects (white dots) are a lot of small defects. Close evaluation shows that the B-swirls are designated as shallow

Cluster Swirl Defects
Cluster Swirl
Defects
B-swirls are designated as shallow Cluster Swirl Defects ϕ 200 mm Figure 5. Typical ‘swirl’ defects

ϕ 200 mm

are designated as shallow Cluster Swirl Defects ϕ 200 mm Figure 5. Typical ‘swirl’ defects in

Figure 5. Typical ‘swirl’ defects in a polished Si wafer revealed by a KLA Tencor instrument.

B-swirl A-swirl
B-swirl
A-swirl

Figure 6. Types of swirl defects as seen by scanning electron microscope.

pits (see inset figure) whereas the A-swirls are designated as hillocks. To characterize the defects on the wafer during the reclamation processes, an optical profiler is used to measure the surface defects generated either during the wafer processing or during crystal growth or both. Figure 7 shows the results of 2D and 3D surface topography measurements of a single defect on the lapped Si wafer by an optical profiler. The three-dimensional representation of the surface topography provides a clear indication of size, depth and shape of the defect. The defects are almost circular (or rectangular) in shape at the surface and tapered down like a cup up to a depth of about 205 nm as shown in figure 7. The diameter of the defects varies from 5 to 10 µm. The depth and shape of the defect change as the process changes from lapping to fine polishing. Figure 8 shows the results of 2D and 3D surface topography measurement of a single defect on the fine polished Si wafer. The defects are irregular (or elliptical) in shape at the surface and taper down like cones or pyramids to a depth of about 5 nm. The size (diameter)

39

G Udupa et al

Table 1.

Surface topography parameters of processed Si wafers (measurement area: 225.7 µm × 296.7 µm).

Sl. Parameters/ R a R q R z R t Defect Defect no processes (nm)
Sl.
Parameters/
R a
R q
R z
R t
Defect
Defect
no
processes
(nm)
(nm)
(nm)
(nm)
diameter (µm)
depth (nm)
1
Lapping
1.92
6.31
221.1
296.5
10–15
200
2
Etching
1.44
1.99
44.61
67.09
5–10
50
3
Stock polishing
1.10
1.32
8.10
11.84
2–8
10
4
Fine polishing
0.85
1.08
7.94
8.58
0.05–5
5
X
Profile
um
nm
um
14.6
54.41
-0.00
30.00
-0.02
12.0
-0.04
10.00
-0.06
10.0
-10.00
-0.08
-30.00
Rq
56.93
nm
8.0
-0.10
Ra
36.63
nm
-50.00
-0.12
6.0
-0.14
Rt
205.32
nm
-70.00
-0.16
Rp
7.43
nm
4.0
-90.00
-0.18
Rv
-197.89
nm
-0.20
um
2.0
-127.86
0
10
20
30
40
50
um
0.0
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0 10.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 18.2
Y
Profile
um
nm
-0.00
54.4
-0.02
-0.04
-0.06
-0.08
Rq
63.90
nm
-0.10
14.6
Ra
45.88
nm
-0.12
Rt
204.32
nm
-0.14
-127.9
Rp
8.31
nm
-0.16
0.0
-0.18
Rv
-196.01
nm
0.0
um
-0.20
18.2
um
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40

Figure 7. The 2D and 3D surface topography map of a single defect on the lapped Si wafer by a Wyko optical profiler indicating average

roughness ( R a ), RMS deviation ( R q ), peak profile.

to valley height ( R t ), maximum peak height ( R p ) and maximum valley depth ( R v ) of the surface

nm X Profile 0.94 nm 0.00 0 -1.00 -1 Rq 1.29 nm -2 -2.00 Ra
nm
X Profile
0.94
nm
0.00
0
-1.00
-1
Rq
1.29
nm
-2
-2.00
Ra
1.03
nm
Rt
4.56
nm
-3
Rp
0.67
nm
-3.00
Rv
-3.89
nm
-4
um
-3.86
0
2
4
6
8
10
nm
0.94
Y Profile
nm
nm
0.00
0.50
0.9
0.00
-0.50
-1.00
-1.00
-1.50
-2.00
Rq
1.24
nm
-3.9
-2.00
10.1
0
Ra
0.99
nm
-2.50
Rt
4.25
nm
-3.00
-3.00
Rp
0.36
nm
0.0 9.0
-3.50
um
Rv
-3.89
nm
-3.86
um
-4.00 0123456789

Figure 8. The 2D and 3D surface topography map of a single defect on the polished Si wafer by a Wyko optical profiler indicating average

roughness ( R a ), RMS deviation ( R q ), peak to valley height ( R t ), maximum profile.

of the defects typically varies from 5 µm to 50 nm at the surface. Table 1 shows the surface topography parameters of the processed Si wafers along with defect size during the wafer processing stages. The optical profiler gives four surface roughness parameters, indicative of the surface roughness and

peak height ( R p ) and maximum valley depth ( R v ) of the surface

designated as average roughness ( R a ), RMS deviation ( R q ), ten-point height ( R z ) and peak to valley height ( R t ) of the surface under measurement. As the value of surface roughness parameters decreases, there is a considerable decrease in size and depth of defects in the Si wafer from the lapping to fine

40

Defect detection in unpolished Si wafers by digital shearography

mm 1.8 ϕ15 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.0 0.8 ϕ20 0.6 ϕ2 ϕ5 0.4 0.2 ϕ10
mm
1.8
ϕ15
1.6
1.4
1.2
1.0
0.8
ϕ20
0.6
ϕ2
ϕ5
0.4
0.2
ϕ10
0.0
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.4
(a)
(b)
ϕ15
ϕ20
ϕ2
ϕ5
ϕ10

mm

(c)

(d)

Figure 9. Demonstration of the measurement range (a) two bonded wafers with simulated subsurface defects, (b) contour map of a 2 mm defect by a Wyko optical profiler, (c) fringe pattern showing four subsurface defects and (d) fringe pattern showing a 2 mm subsurface defect.

polishing process. However, these defects affect the final performance and decrease reliability and manufacturing yield of semiconductor devices. Some of these defects or voids may be originally embedded (during crystal growth) in the silicon wafer and will be revealed at the surface after the polishing process (as seen in figure 5) and result in rejection of wafers at the end of the final process. The difficult task is to detect these subsurface defects in unpolished Si wafers and sort them into defective and non-defective wafers. This helps not only in reducing scrap but also saving both the processing and manpower costs associated with producing swirl free non- defective wafers for IC packaging.

5.2. Study of subsurface defects in an unpolished Si wafer

Defects/flaws in silicon wafers induce strain concentrations on the wafers. Shearography reveals these defects by translating the defect-induced strain concentrations to anomalies in the fringe patterns. An unpolished wafer of 200 mm diameter and thickness about 700 µm was clamped along the edges in a wafer mount, leaving 190 mm diameter exposure area for laser illumination on one side of the wafer. Thermal loading was applied using an infrared lamp was placed at its centre on other side of the wafer as shown in figure 4. The temperature gradient induces thermal stresses in the wafer. Either the double exposure or the real-time method can be used to perform the subtraction. The Image-Pro Plus software along with image processing card was installed in a Pentium 4 computer

and a program written using the Auto-Pro scripting facilities available in the software to perform the above methods of subtraction. The real-time subtraction was carried out using the fixed reference frame method or the permanently refreshed reference frame method [12]. A lateral shear of 10 mm was used throughout the experiment. The suitability of the measurement range for this application can be demonstrated using two bonded wafers as shown in figure 9(a). The two unpolished wafers of 200 mm diameter were bonded at specific spots with various sizes using a steel filled epoxy adhesive. The simulated defects substituted between the two wafers vary in size from approximately 2 to 20 mm diameter. Figure 9(b) shows the contour map of a defect with about 2 mm diameter seen using the low magnification objective lens (2.5×) available in the optical profiler. The diameter of the defects may change a little after the bonding. The fringe pattern in figure 9(c) successfully reveals the location of the four simulated subsurface defects of size 5, 10, 15 and 20 mm as seen by the bull’s-eye anomaly in the fringe pattern. In comparison with figure 9(a), the bull’s- eye corresponds to the positions of the four simulated defects. However the smallest simulated defect, of size 2 mm, was not detected when viewing the whole wafer surface. An attempt has been made to detect this defect by reducing the field of view with the zoom lens. Figure 9(d) shows the detection of the smallest defect, which shows the position correctly at the centre of the wafer. Similar experiments were also conducted in detecting debonds between two bonded wafers. The present

41

G Udupa et al

Defects
Defects

(a)

G Udupa et al Defects (a) (b) Figure 10. (a) The subsurface defects in an unpolished

(b)

Figure 10. (a) The subsurface defects in an unpolished Si wafer and (b) the good unpolished Si wafer.

application needs to detect defects within the range of the thickness of the wafer. This proves that the technique is able to detect the subsurface defects present 700 µm below the surface, which is of interest in this application. The minimum size of the subsurface defect that can be detected in a wafer is difficult to say precisely as it depends on several factors such as the shearing amount, the type of the defect, the type of loading and its condition, and the size of the field of viewing. However, the study of swirl defects or pits discussed above reveals that the size of the subsurface defect in an unpolished Si wafer is normally about 10 µm. Defects larger than 10 µm may be present either individually or in the form of cluster defects as seen in figure 5. The cluster defect is a series of swirl defects grouped together to form a bigger defect. The defects in the outer ring in figure 5 may be considered as a group of cluster swirl defects as it forms a thick ring about 20 mm wide. In this case it is easy to detect the defects by digital shearography or holography techniques. It is observed that not all the measured wafers are of this type. The defect distribution inside the wafer varies from circular pattern to a random distribution of swirl defects from few hundred to few thousand particles or pits.

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Cluster Swirl Defects Area 1000 100 100 2 mm 50 10 1 0.2 0.5 1
Cluster Swirl
Defects
Area
1000
100
100
2
mm
50
10
1
0.2
0.5
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2
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20
50 100
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0.160 Diameter (µm)

9900

Figure 11. The surface defects map after polishing the wafer of figure 10(a), revealed by a KLA Tencor instrument with a graph showing defect particle count and the corresponding defect size.

Figure 10(a) shows a typical fringe anomaly pattern for the subsurface wafer defects. The pattern may vary depending on the distribution of COPs inside the wafer. Typical flaw/defect indications depicted in fringe patterns are: (a) bull’s-eyes, (b) abrupt curvature changes, (c) abrupt fringe density changes and (d) fringe discontinuity. However in figure 10(b), for non- defective (good) wafers, the fringe patterns show lines of equal out-of-plane derivative of displacement due to loading and there is no abrupt change of curvature and/or discontinuity of fringes. The results are repetitive, and it shows that the technique is capable of differentiating the ‘good’ wafers from ‘defective’ wafers before the wafer reclamation or fabrication processes. The defective unpolished wafer of figure 10(a) has been sent for polishing to verify the presence of subsurface defects. After the polishing process, the wafer was inspected using a KLA Tencor instrument for surface defects. The defect map obtained on the final polished silicon wafer shows defect sizes varying from sub-micrometre to hundreds and thousands of micrometres (up to about 10 mm), as shown in figure 11. The instrument counts the number of particles on the wafer surface based on its size and plots it on a graph showing particle count and the corresponding size, as in figure 11. The technique detects the bigger defect particles or voids (cluster defects) present inside the wafer in the form of the bull’s-eye as seen in figure 10(a). However the detection of smaller (tens of micron) individual defect particles could not be revealed; this may need a higher macro focus zoom lens to perform serial measurement on a smaller area or the use of a lower wavelength light source. Since the location of defects in the wafer thickness direction is not known, it is difficult to compare the defects in figure 10(a) with the mapped defects of figure 11. Further work is needed to quantify the results using the phase shifting method.

Defect detection in unpolished Si wafers by digital shearography

6. Conclusions

A wafer defect detection system for detecting subsurface

defects in an unpolished silicon wafer has been investigated based on digital shearography. In the present work, swirl defects (cluster defects) and groups of particles can be detected qualitatively by whole field measurement of the wafer surface in few seconds. The cluster defects and COPs are detected by

thermally stressing the wafer while looking for defect-induced anomalies in the fringe pattern. Preliminary tests show that about 95% of the results (in a batch of 100 unpolished wafers) obtained by the system are in agreement with the results obtained by the Tencor instrument in terms of detecting cluster swirl defects or particles. Since the depths of the subsurface defects are unknown, its difficult to compare the results with

the surface defect results obtained after processing the wafer. However, the results obtained are repetitive and hence useful

to sort defective and non-defective unpolished wafers. The

study of surface defects on processed wafers show that most

of

the defects in nature are pits or voids and the minimum size

of

an individual defect in an unpolished wafer is about 10 µm.

The system can detect cluster swirl defects of size at least 5 mm when viewing the whole wafer surface. By reducing the size of field of view, the working distance and controlling

the other parameters such as amount of shear, stable loading conditions etc, the system could be able to detect defect sizes

of a hundred to a few hundred micrometres. To evaluate the

size of the subsurface defect needs correct identification of its

location and depth in the thickness direction. To investigate the detection of micro-size defects in the wafer needs improvement

in the performance of the system. Future improvements to

the system include replacing the available zoom lens with a long working distance microscope to inspect a field of view

of 1 mm or less. The disadvantage in this case is that it takes

more time to inspect the whole wafer surface and may require a local stressing at the point of measurement in order to register any underlying defects. Also a scanning stage is required to scan the wafer when viewing a small area on the surface. If the subsurface defects are greater in number, the detection and identification of individual defects becomes more difficult and complex. It is observed that some of the wafers are transparent to IR radiation causing difficulty in measurement. Other loading methods such as vacuum or pressure are being developed to avoid such problems and to get a more uniform loading condition. A higher pixel resolution camera may be incorporated for increased image definition. Further work is being carried out to determine quantitatively the depth and

size of the defects using a phase shifting technique to make this system suitable for in situ inspection on the factory floor. This will enhance the system’s capability greatly by providing critical information and further assisting in determining ‘good’ wafers from ‘defective’ wafers before wafer reclamation or fabrication processes.

Acknowledgments

This research work was supported by the Economic De- velopment Board, Singapore (Grant No COY-15-IDS/I122- 1S99/50890) in collaboration with International Semiconduc- tors Products (ISP) Pte. Ltd, Singapore. Authors would like to thank Dr Usha of ISP for her help in the experimental work.

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