Heterodyne detection system for nanoparticle detection using coherent Fourier scatterometry

D. Kolenov*, R. C. Horsten, S. F. Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Coherent Fourier Scatterometry (CFS) is a scanning optical technique that is particularly suitable for nanoparticle detection. Inspection of wafer surfaces is one of the critical bottle-necks for high yield in the production of semiconductor chips. Ideally, inspection systems are required to work fast, be sensitive, and should not thermally damage the samples with an excess of illuminating light power. The sensitivity of detection of nanoparticles, attributed to the smallest size of the scatterer that can be detected, is severely limited by noise. The optical readout of the scatterometer consists of a bi-cell (a split photodetector) that collects the scatterred light from the surface to be inspected while the latter is scanned in the lateral direction (2D scan). The difference voltage signal resulting from integrating and subtracting the two halves of the bi-cell is recorded as a function of the lateral scanning position of the sample surface. The bi-cell has two functions: first, it allows us to acquire signals in a fast manner, and second, it eliminates effects due to substrate spurious reflections, which is usually a big issue in dark field based particle detection systems. In this paper, we present an extension of the original CFS detection system by incorporating a heterodyne technique to the detection system. We show the implementation of the new detector system as well as a comparative signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) gain studies that are used to determine the suitable frequencies and waveforms for both modulation and reference signals. We demonstrate the detection of polystyrene nanoparticles with a diameter of 80 nm, which were deposited on top of a silicon wafer, with high SNR at low illuminating light power. The experiments were performed with a diode laser at the wavelength of 405 nm. In this particular particle size, we have observed an improvement of the SNR of about 45 dB as compared to the original detection system of the CFS. Although the proposed heterodyne CFS technique already shows excellent performance for detection of polystyrene nanoparticles on silicon wafer, there is still room for improving the sensitivity towards even smaller particles, as discussed in the outlook and conclusions section.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection XI
EditorsPeter Lehmann, Wolfgang Osten, Armando Albertazzi Goncalves
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781510627918
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventOptical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection XI 2019 - Munich, Germany
Duration: 24 Jun 201927 Jun 2019

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceOptical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection XI 2019


  • Coherent Fourier scatterometry
  • Heterodyne detection
  • Nanoparticle detection
  • Wafer inspection


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