Intensity and phase fields behind Phase Shifting Masks studied with High Resolution Interference Microscopy
The proximity printing industry is in real need of high resolution results and it can be done using Phase Shift Mask (PSM) or by applying Optical Proximity Correction (OPC). In our research we are trying to find out details of how light fields behind the structures of photo masks develop in order to determine the best conditions and designs for proximity printing. We focus here on parameters that are used in real situation with gaps up to 50 μm and structure sizes down to 2 μm. The light field evolution behind the structures is studied and delivers insight in to precisions and tolerances that need to be respected. It is the first time that an experimental analysis of light propagation through mask is presented in detail, which includes information on intensity and phase. The instrument we use is known as High Resolution Interference Microscopy (HRIM). HRIM is a Mach-Zehnder interferometer which is capable of recording three dimensional distributions of intensity and phase with diffraction limited resolution. Our characterization technique allows plotting the evolution of the desired light field and therefore printable structure till the desired proximity gap. In this paper we discuss in detail the evolution of intensity and phase fields of elbow or corner structure at different position behind a phase mask and interpret the main parameters. Of particular interest are tolerances against proximity gap variation and the resolution in printed structures.