In the process of lithography using ultra violet light sources for semiconductor devices, most of defects are made by sub-micrometer pollutants generated at photochemical reactions. We proposed and developed a novel vibration-insensitive on-axis interferometer with a sub-micrometer lateral resolution by using the interference between two beams: one scattered from defects and the other reflected from a reference area without defects. The proposed system was successfully demonstrated to detect a small Al defect of 0.5 <i>μ</i>m diameter within the inspection time of less than 30 minutes over the area of the photo-mask which is 6 inch by 6 inch square.

© 2013 Optical Society of Korea

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