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Method for image enhancement and automation of scanning beam tools

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010726D
Publication Date: 2003-Jan-15
Document File: 6 page(s) / 443K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for image enhancement and automation of scanning beam tools. Benefits include improved functionality, improved usability, improved reliability, and improved throughput.

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Method for image enhancement and automation of scanning beam tools

Disclosed is a method for image enhancement and automation of scanning beam tools.� Benefits include improved functionality, improved usability, improved reliability, and improved throughput.

Background

� � � � � Scanning beam tools are widely used in silicon manufacturing, such as with a focused ion beam (FIB) tool station (see Figure 1). Model information from a computer-aided design (CAD) system is used to localize features on the specimen and to provide structural layout data. This information is used for automated positioning of the FIB tool. The milling process is based upon parameter settings by the user, and no further information is extracted from the CAD model. During the milling process, secondary electrons and ions are collected by a detector and displayed in an image representing the spatial location of the scanning beam. This image is displayed to the user for visual feedback about the structures being tooled. The user performs actions to manually control the tool based on the detection of transition points of image brightness, and the appearance of faint patterns in the noisy images. Delays or misclassifications cause irreversible damage to the tooled object, such as microprocessors in circuit edit. Feature sizes in the silicon manufacturing processes require caution in silicon debug operations, which slows down circuit editing. Smaller feature sizes in future generation processes will produce lower signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio images and will likely render visual feedback impossible.

� � � � � Improved system setup is required to improve the image quality and support the automation of scanning beam tools by digital image processing. Image enhancement is required for visual inspection by the user and to automatically extract features for automated, image-based tool control.

General description

        � � � � � The disclosed method is the real-time improvement of image quality for tool automation in scanning beam tools.The method enables improved image quality by spatiotemporal denoising and automated tool control by image-based feedback. The improved images enable the tool user to recognize critical features and brightness changes faster and more reliably. An extended version of the system automatically detects critical image features and provides feedback to the user or fully controls the tool, bypassing time-critical user interaction. When providing the user with feedback, the interface overlays live images with icons, text, and outlines of detected features.

        � � � � � The disclosed method has been implemented for silicon-debug circuit edit. The method is not limited to this application and can be implemented for any application using a scanning beam tool, such as lithography mask repair. The completed implementation consists of a stand-alone PC system interfaced with an FIB tool via a custom-designed video interface circuit. This stand-alone system can be used with...