Measuring and controlling thin-film stress is critical for attaining the targeted optical, electronic, and mechanical properties. Many high performance devices must be made with inherent stress within the individual layers for defining individual attributes. During the manufacturing process, undesired changes in stress can be appear and result in a change in device performance and also in cracking of deposited thin-films.
Conventional ex situ stress measuring methods such as XRD or surface profiling measure the overall stress after the production process is completing and do not monitor the dynamic changes in stress occurring during the process. Measuring thin-film stress in situ, i.e. during the process, allows controlling the stress during every manufacturing step.
A leading in situ tool for measuring real-time film stress and curvature is kSA MOS made by k-Space Associates, a manufacturer of in situ and ex situ metrology tools for the semiconductor, thin-film, and photovoltaic industries.