Abstract

We rediscover the null ellipsometry principle for an outstanding image-contrast enhancement method for darkfield imaging. Simply by adding polarizers, compensators, and a photodiode sensor to a conventional darkfield imaging system and applying the null principle, Si nano-cylinder structures as small as D20 nm (H20 nm) on non-patterned wafer, and gap defects as small as 14.6 nm and bridge defects as small as 21.9 nm on 40 nm line and 40 nm space patterns (H40 nm), which are invisible in conventional darkfield imaging, can be distinguished from scattered noise. To the best of our knowledge, no method has been successful for identifying such small non-metal (silicon) nanoscale objects with such low magnification (×20) optics.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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