A Framework For Improving Current Defect Inspection Techniques For Advanced Nodes


A technical paper titled “Improved Defect Detection and Classification Method for Advanced IC Nodes by Using Slicing Aided Hyper Inference with Refinement Strategy” was published by researchers at Ghent University, imec, and SCREEN SPE.


“In semiconductor manufacturing, lithography has often been the manufacturing step defining the smallest possible pattern dimensions. In recent years, progress has been made towards high-NA (Numerical Aperture) EUVL (Extreme-Ultraviolet-Lithography) paradigm, which promises to advance pattern shrinking (2 nm node and beyond). However, a significant increase in stochastic defects and the complexity of defect detection becomes more pronounced with high-NA. Present defect inspection techniques (both non-machine learning and machine learning based), fail to achieve satisfactory performance at high-NA dimensions. In this work, we investigate the use of the Slicing Aided Hyper Inference (SAHI) framework for improving upon current techniques. Using SAHI, inference is performed on size-increased slices of the SEM images. This leads to the object detector’s receptive field being more effective in capturing small defect instances. First, the performance on previously investigated semiconductor datasets is benchmarked across various configurations, and the SAHI approach is demonstrated to substantially enhance the detection of small defects, by approx. 2x. Afterwards, we also demonstrated application of SAHI leads to flawless detection rates on a new test dataset, with scenarios not encountered during training, whereas previous trained models failed. Finally, we formulate an extension of SAHI that does not significantly reduce true-positive predictions while eliminating false-positive predictions.”

Find the technical paper here. Published November 2023 (preprint).

De Ridder, Vic, Bappaditya Dey, Victor Blanco, Sandip Halder, and Bartel Van Waeyenberge. “Improved Defect Detection and Classification Method for Advanced IC Nodes by Using Slicing Aided Hyper Inference with Refinement Strategy.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2311.11439 (2023).

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