Model improvements to simulate charging in scanning electron microscope

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    Background: Charging of insulators is a complex phenomenon to simulate since the accuracy of the simulations is very sensitive to the interaction of electrons with matter and electric fields. Aim: In this study, we report model improvements for a previously developed Monte-Carlo simulator to more accurately simulate samples that charge. Approach: The improvements include both modeling of low energy electron scattering by first-principle approaches and charging of insulators by the redistribution of the charge carriers in the material with an electron beam-induced conductivity and a dielectric breakdown model. Results: The first-principle scattering models provide a more realistic charge distribution cloud in the material and a better match between noncharging simulations and experimental results. The improvements on the charging models, which mainly focus on the redistribution of the charge carriers, lead to a smoother distribution of the charges and better experimental agreement of charging simulations. Conclusions: Combined with a more accurate tracing of low energy electrons in the electric field, we managed to reproduce the dynamically changing charging contrast due to an induced positive surface potential.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number044003
    Pages (from-to)14
    JournalJournal of Micro/ Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • breakdown
    • charging
    • electron beam-induced conductivity
    • low energy electrons
    • Monte-Carlo simulation
    • scanning electron microscope


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