The National Institute of Standards and Technology and Intel have used a critical-dimension small angle X-ray scattering method to measure nanostructured features of a silicon computer chip during a collaborative study.
NIST said Tuesday it believes the CDSAXS technique could pave the way for development of new process control tools to help semiconductor companies determine the size of holes, trenches and lines on future nanoscale chips.
“The semiconductor industry has not only decreased product dimensions, but we’ve also developed increasingly complex three-dimensional structures,” said Scott List, principal engineer of Intel’s components research group.
“Early results of NIST’s state-of-the-art CDSAXS measurements of these nanometer-sized structures have provided very useful atomic scale resolution of their 3D profiles,” List added.
Researchers tested the measurement tool on Intel-made silicon wafers designed with assymetric periodic arrays, according to NIST.
The agency noted CDSAXS works to exploit X-ray’s short wavelength and sensitivity to dissimilar electron densities.