Abstract

We have implemented a reflected-light microscope operating in the deep ultraviolet at 193  nm. Many materials absorb strongly at this wavelength, providing greatly enhanced contrast compared with visible and near-ultraviolet microscopes. Polymer films as thin as 1  nm and SiO2 films as thin as 3  nm have been imaged with this nonoptimized instrument. We have also calculated image contrast for several thin-film materials that are important in semiconductor processing, and we show that 193-nm light provides 60–485× better contrast than visible light (500  nm) and 4–95× better contrast than near-ultraviolet light (315  nm) for these materials.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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