High power ultraviolet LED illumination systems: coherence properties and applications in photolithography

Mask-aligner photolithography is a technology used to replicate patterns from a mask to a photosensitive substrate. It is widely used in the fabrication of MEMS and micro-optical components, and for other applications with dimensions in the micrometer range. Traditionally, the light sources used for mask-aligners are high-pressure mercury arc lamps, which emit in the ultraviolet range with peaks at 365nm, 405nm and 435nm, the so-called g-, h- and i- lines. These lamps suffer from several disadvantages, such as a low efficiency, bulkiness, a short lifetime, and the toxicity of mercury. Finding an alternative to mercury arc lamps would be highly beneficial. In addition, specific techniques in mask-aligner technologies like Talbot lithography, multiple exposures, mask-source optimization or optical proximity correction lithography require high power sources with an increased control over the angular distribution and the spatial coherence. This is not easily done with a mercury arc lamp illumination. A method to easily measure the angular distribution and the spatial coherence in the mask-plane would be of great interest. In recent years, high power ultraviolet LEDs at the same wavelengths have appeared on the market. LEDs possess a smaller Etendue, they can be electronically driven at high frequencies and have a superior lifetime. This makes them ideal candidates to overcome the limitations of the mercury arc lamp illumination systems. The work focuses on the development and study of a novel LED-based illumination system for mask aligner lithography. This illumination system consists of an array of 7x7 LEDs, with individual reflectors. They form a modular 250W source which can replace a 1kW mercury arc lamp. The light is collected by the reflectors and brought onto a fly¿s eye integrator with two subsequent lenses which shape and homogenize the light field. Different patterns can be created by the source, determining the angles and the spatial coherence in the mask plane. The first part of the work presents the design and a complete set of characterizations of the final prototype. The achieved irradiance uniformity in the mask-plane of a MA/BA8 Gen3 SUSS mask-aligner is within ±1.2-2%. Prints tests in proximity printing, with a gap of 30µm, demonstrate a resolution of 3.5µm. In the second part of the thesis, the development of a method to measure the spatial coherence, which is based on a double slit approach and backed up by simulation, is described. The link between the spatial coherence length and the angular extent is made and the measurements show a good agreement with the analytical expression. A compact system is described, which enables the measurement of the spatial coherence in the mask plane, where only a little space is available. An original method is put into practice in order to measure the directional spatial coherence in two dimensions in the mask plane of a mask-aligner. This is achieved by using a circular double slits system. Prints are also made which illustrate the importance of the angular distribution and the spatial coherence. This novel LED-based illumination system is implementable in current, commercial, mask-aligners. It enables a greater efficiency, more functionalities and a longer lifetime compared to standard mercury arc lamp illumination systems. In particular, the spatial coherence properties of the source can be precisely managed and monitored thanks to the directional spatial coherence measurement.

Herzig, Hans Peter
Scharf, Toralf
Lausanne, EPFL

 Record created 2018-10-22, last modified 2019-03-17

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