Journal article

Surface Reconstruction From Microscopic Images in Optical Lithography

This paper presents a method to reconstruct 3D surfaces of silicon wafers from 2D images of printed circuits taken with a scanning electron microscope. Our reconstruction method combines the physical model of the optical acquisition system with prior knowledge about the shapes of the patterns in the circuit; the result is a shape-from-shading technique with a shape prior. The reconstruction of the surface is formulated as an optimization problem with an objective functional that combines a data-fidelity term on the microscopic image with two prior terms on the surface. The data term models the acquisition system through the irradiance equation characteristic of the microscope; the first prior is a smoothness penalty on the reconstructed surface, and the second prior constrains the shape of the surface to agree with the expected shape of the pattern in the circuit. In order to account for the variability of the manufacturing process, this second prior includes a deformation field that allows a nonlinear elastic deformation between t0he expected pattern and the reconstructed surface. As a result, the minimization problem has two unknowns, and the reconstruction method provides two outputs: 1) a reconstructed surface and 2) a deformation field. The reconstructed surface is derived from the shading observed in the image and the prior knowledge about the pattern in the circuit, while the deformation field produces a mapping between the expected shape and the reconstructed surface that provides a measure of deviation between the circuit design models and the real manufacturing process.


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