Further improvements in CMOS circuit performance such as switching speed and power reduction will rely on the use of silicon on insulator (SOI) substrates with decreased functional layer thicknesses. According to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), the silicon and buried SiO2 (BOX) layer thicknesses for a fully depleted device should be in the ranges of 10–16nm and 24 – 40nm by 2005, respectively. A key issue for fully-depleted CMOS transistors is control of such ultra-thin layer thicknesses and their uniformity along with other parameters such as surface and interface roughness. This poses a challenge to metrology, especially to conventional reflectometry technique because the layer thicknesses must be determined with angstrom precision for both silicon cap and SiO2 box layer.
Spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) is an optical and non destructive technique for determining thin film thickness and material optical properties. Because ellipsometry measures the change in the polarization state for both the amplitude ratio of the p to s polarizations, and in the phase retardation, it provides a precise way to characterize such ultra thin SOI stacks. Comprehensive characterization results for a number of thin and ultra thin SOI stacks with different thickness ranges will be presented together with measurement repeatability results relevant to the film thickness process tolerances. In addition, characterization results for advanced device applications such as strained silicon-on- Si1−xGex-on-insulator (SSOI) will also be shown, demonstrating the use and capability of spectroscopic ellipsometry for precise determination of layer thickness, material composition, interfacial layers, etc. Principles and advantages of the technique will also be discussed in the presentation.