Research and development of rigorously SI traceable nano-characterization instrumentation, measurements, and procedures to enable a fundamental understanding of scanning probe interaction and characterization for nanostructures. A primary goal is to develop traceable reference measurements and artifacts to enable manufacturing of sub 10 nm structures and devices.
The project provides the metrological underpinnings and reference measurements that support other instruments used in semiconductor manufacturing (internal and external customers). The activities which span from fundamental understanding of tip SPM image formation to instrument development, to standards development, are motivated by the need to provide SI traceable dimensional measurements for nanoscale features, supported by rigorous uncertainty specifications to users. The project currently has the only dimensional metrology AFM at NIST with direct traceability to the SI meter, and is in line with NIST and PML's priorities in disseminating traceable measurements for nanoscale features.
The best measurement uncertainty for a height sample using the T-AFM is 0.03 nm (K=2). Customers and collaborators who have used the NIST AFM calibration service include Bruker- Nano, NanoDevices, VLSI, Advanced Surface Microscopy, among others. SI traceable measurements for calibration sample vendors help underpin the national measurement system since these values are propagated to thousands of samples a year. These samples are then used on regular bases by the end users for nanoscale characterization and instrument evaluation.
Figure 1. (a) Solid model of the NIST Traceable –Atomic Force Microscope (T-AFM) (b) T-AFM image of sub-nm steps on Si (100) atomically flat surface
Figure 2. T-AFM laser path and stage. Motions in three axes are monitored by displacement interferometer.
Lead Organizational Unit:pml
Key industries and markets are semiconductor and other nano-technology manufacturing industries. These include integrated device manufacturers, instrument vendors, tip and standards suppliers. Key applications are linewidth metrology, photomask metrology, nanomechanics, reference metrology for high-throughput techniques, and defect metrology among others.
Internal and external customers include MML (NIST), SDMD standards projects, (NIST), SDMD optical and SEM metrology projects (NIST), VLSI Standards, SEMATECH, Photronics, FEI, and NanoTools.
Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)