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Home > News > X-ray inspection may meet computer chip-making need

November 21st, 2003

X-ray inspection may meet computer chip-making need

A decades-old, X-ray-based method for studying the atomic structure of materials may be the answer to a looming semiconductor industry need - a rugged, high-throughput technology for measuring dimensions of chip circuitry packed with devices approaching molecular proportions. A team led by NIST scientists recently reported* their initial success in adapting small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to rapidly characterize the size and shape of grid-like patterns with nanometer-scale linewidths. With better than one nanometer precision, the team determined the average size of periodically repeating features arrayed on three chemically different samples much like the intricately patterned polymer masks used to print integrated-circuit designs.


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