Current Articles

2022, Volume 4,  Issue 3

Optical wafer defect inspection at the 10 nm technology node and beyond
Jinlong Zhu, Jiamin Liu, Tianlai Xu, Shuai Yuan, Zexu Zhang, Hao Jiang, Honggang Gu, Renjie Zhou, Shiyuan Liu
2022, 4(3) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac64d7

The growing demand for electronic devices, smart devices, and the Internet of Things constitutes the primary driving force for marching down the path of decreased critical dimension and increased circuit intricacy of integrated circuits. However, as sub-10 nm high-volume manufacturing is becoming the mainstream, there is greater awareness that defects introduced by original equipment manufacturer components impact yield and manufacturing costs. The identification, positioning, and classification of these defects, including random particles and systematic defects, are becoming more and more challenging at the 10 nm node and beyond. Very recently, the combination of conventional optical defect inspection with emerging techniques such as nanophotonics, optical vortices, computational imaging, quantitative phase imaging, and deep learning is giving the field a new possibility. Hence, it is extremely necessary to make a thorough review for disclosing new perspectives and exciting trends, on the foundation of former great reviews in the field of defect inspection methods. In this article, we give a comprehensive review of the emerging topics in the past decade with a focus on three specific areas:(a) the defect detectability evaluation, (b) the diverse optical inspection systems, and (c) the post-processing algorithms. We hope, this work can be of importance to both new entrants in the field and people who are seeking to use it in interdisciplinary work.

Near-field radiative heat transfer in hyperbolic materials
Ruiyi Liu, Chenglong Zhou, Yong Zhang, Zheng Cui, Xiaohu Wu, Hongliang Yi
2022, 4(3) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac64d6

In the post-Moore era, as the energy consumption of micro-nano electronic devices rapidly increases, near-field radiative heat transfer (NFRHT) with super-Planckian phenomena has gradually shown great potential for applications in efficient and ultrafast thermal modulation and energy conversion. Recently, hyperbolic materials, an important class of anisotropic materials with hyperbolic isofrequency contours, have been intensively investigated. As an exotic optical platform, hyperbolic materials bring tremendous new opportunities for NFRHT from theoretical advances to experimental designs. To date, there have been considerable achievements in NFRHT for hyperbolic materials, which range from the establishment of different unprecedented heat transport phenomena to various potential applications. This review concisely introduces the basic physics of NFRHT for hyperbolic materials, lays out the theoretical methods to address NFRHT for hyperbolic materials, and highlights unique behaviors as realized in different hyperbolic materials and the resulting applications. Finally, key challenges and opportunities of the NFRHT for hyperbolic materials in terms of fundamental physics, experimental validations, and potential applications are outlined and discussed.

Ultrafast synthetic strategies under extreme heating conditions toward single-atom catalysts
Guanchao He, Minmin Yan, Haisheng Gong, Huilong Fei, Shuangyin Wang
2022, 4(3) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac670b

Dispersing atomic metals on substrates provides an ideal method to maximize metal utilization efficiency, which is important for the production of cost-effective catalysts and the atomic-level control of the electronic structure. However, due to the high surface energy, individual single atoms tend to migrate and aggregate into nanoparticles during preparation and catalytic operation. In the past few years, various synthetic strategies based on ultrafast thermal activation toward the effective preparation of single-atom catalysts (SACs) have emerged, which could effectively solve the aggregation issue. Here, we highlight and summarize the latest developments in various ultrafast synthetic strategy with rapid energy input by heating shockwave and instant quenching for the synthesis of SACs, including Joule heating, microwave heating, solid-phase laser irradiation, flame-assisted method, arc-discharge method and so on, with special emphasis on how to achieve the uniform dispersion of single metal atoms at high metal loadings as well as the suitability for scalable production. Finally, we point out the advantages and disadvantages of the ultrafast heating strategies as well as the trends and challenges of future developments.

Laser-induced microjet-assisted ablation for high-quality microfabrication
Yang Guo, Pei Qiu, Shaolin Xu, Gary J Cheng
2022, 4(3) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac6632

Liquid-assisted laser ablation has the advantage of relieving thermal effects of common laser ablation processes, whereas the light scattering and shielding effects by laser-induced cavitation bubbles, suspended debris, and turbulent liquid flow generally deteriorate laser beam transmission stability, leading to low energy efficiency and poor surface quality. Here, we report that a continuous and directional high-speed microjet will form in the laser ablation zone if laser-induced primary cavitation bubbles asymmetrically collapse sequentially near the air-liquid interface under a critical thin liquid layer. The laser-induced microjet can instantaneously and directionally remove secondary bubbles and ablation debris around the laser ablation region, and thus a very stable material removal process can be obtained. The shadowgraphs of high-speed camera reveal that the average speed of laser-induced continuous microjet can be as high as 1.1 m s-1 in its initial 500 µm displacement. The coupling effect of laser ablation, mechanical impact along with the collapse of cavitation bubbles and flushing of high-speed microjet helps achieve a high material removal rate and significantly improved surface quality. We name this uncovered liquid-assisted laser ablation process as laser-induced microjet-assisted ablation (LIMJAA) based on its unique characteristics. High-quality microgrooves with a large depth-to-width ratio of 5.2 are obtained by LIMJAA with a single-pass laser scanning process in our experiments. LIMJAA is capable of machining various types of difficult-to-process materials with high-quality arrays of micro-channels, square and circle microscale through-holes. The results and disclosed mechanisms in our work provide a deep understanding of the role of laser-induced microjet in improving the processing quality of liquid-assisted laser micromachining.