Mueller Matrix Ellipsometric Approach on the Imaging of Sub-Wavelength Nanostructures

authored by
Tim Käseberg, Jana Grundmann, Thomas Siefke, Petr Klapetek, Miroslav Valtr, Stefanie Kroker, Bernd Bodermann

Conventional spectroscopic ellipsometry is a powerful tool in optical metrology. However, when it comes to the characterization of non-periodic nanostructures or structured fields that are much smaller than the illumination spot size, it is not well suited as it integrates the results over the whole illuminated area. Instead, imaging ellipsometry can be applied. Especially imaging Mueller matrix ellipsometry is highly useful in nanostructure characterization and defect inspection, as it is capable to measure the complete Mueller matrix for each pixel in a microscope image of the sample. It has been shown that these so-called Mueller matrix images can help to distinguish geometrical features of nanostructures in the sub-wavelength regime due to visible differences in off-diagonal matrix elements. To further investigate the sensitivity of imaging Mueller matrix ellipsometry for sub-wavelength sized features, we designed and fabricated a sample containing geometrical nanostructures with lateral dimensions ranging from 50 to 5,000 nm. The structures consist of square and circular shapes with varying sizes and corner rounding. For the characterization of their Mueller matrix images, we constructed an in-house Mueller matrix microscope capable of measuring the full Mueller matrix for each pixel of a CCD camera, using an imaging system and a dual-rotating compensator configuration for the ellipsometric system. The samples are illuminated at 455 nm wavelength and the measurements can be performed in both transmission and reflection. Using this setup, we systematically examine the sensitivity of Mueller matrix images to small features of the designed nanostructures. Within this contribution, the results are compared with traceable atomic force microscopy measurements and the suitability of this measurement technique in optical nanometrology is discussed. AFM measurements confirm that the fabricated samples closely match their design and are suitable for nanometrological test measurements. Mueller matrix images of the structures show close resemblance to numerical simulations and significant influence of sub-wavelength features to off-diagonal matrix elements.

External Organisation(s)
National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB)
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Czech Metrology Institute
Brno University of Technology
Technische Universität Braunschweig
Frontiers in Physics
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Biophysics, Materials Science (miscellaneous), Mathematical Physics, Physics and Astronomy(all), Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)