Monday, June 09, 2008

US Patent 7381950 - Semiconductor height profiling using SPM

This patent from Texas instruments (priority 9/24/2004) includes some basic claims to use a scanning probe microscope to measure the height of semiconductor structures. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising characterizing the physical height of structures on a semiconductor device having dimensions less than approximately 100 nanometers (nm) using a probe of one of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) and profilometry by determining the difference in height between the probe of one of a SPM and profilometer at a reference position to the probe at a second position.

However, some prior art may have been overlooked such as US Patent 6,816,806 (see for example column 7, lines 10-25).