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United States Patent Application 20180181007
Kind Code A1
Gellrich; Bernhard ;   et al. June 28, 2018

OPTICAL IMAGING DEVICE WITH THERMAL ATTENUATION

Abstract

An optical imaging device, in particular for use in microlithography, includes a mask device for receiving a mask having a projection pattern, a projection device with an optical element group, a substrate device for receiving a substrate and an immersion zone. The optical element group is adapted to project the projection pattern onto the substrate and includes a plurality of optical elements with an immersion element to which the substrate is at least temporarily located adjacent to during operation. During operation, the immersion zone is located between the immersion element and the substrate and is at least temporarily filled with an immersion medium. A thermal attenuation device is provided, the thermal attenuation device being adapted to reduce fluctuations within the temperature distribution of the immersion element induced by the immersion medium.


Inventors: Gellrich; Bernhard; (Aalen, DE) ; Kugler; Jens; (Aalen, DE) ; Ittner; Thomas; (Aalen, DE) ; Hembacher; Stefan; (Bobingen, DE) ; Schimitzek; Karl-Heinz; (Oberkochen, DE) ; Tayebati; Payam; (Riedstadt, DE) ; Holderer; Hubert; (Oberkochen, DE)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH

Oberkochen

DE
Family ID: 1000003189677
Appl. No.: 15/800606
Filed: November 1, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14531109Nov 3, 20149810996
15800606
13712576Dec 12, 20128902401
14531109
12267074Nov 7, 20088363206
13712576
PCT/EP2007/054503May 9, 2007
12267074

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: G03F 7/70341 20130101; G03F 7/70891 20130101
International Class: G03F 7/20 20060101 G03F007/20

Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
May 9, 2006DE102006021797.7

Claims



1. (canceled)

2. A device having an immersion zone, the device comprising: a mask device configured to receive a mask comprising a pattern; a projection device comprising an optical element group; a substrate device configured to hold a substrate; and a thermal attenuation device, wherein: the optical element group is configured to project a projection pattern onto the substrate; the optical element group comprises a plurality of optical elements comprising an immersion element at least temporarily located adjacent to the immersion zone; during use of the device, the immersion zone contains an immersion medium; the thermal attenuation device is configured to reduce fluctuations within a temperature distribution of the immersion element induced by the immersion medium; the thermal attenuation device comprises a shielding defining a thermal decoupling device configured to at least partial thermal decouple the immersion element from at least a part of its environment; and the shielding comprises a thermally highly conductive layer.

3. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein the shielding comprises a hydrophobic layer.

4. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein the hydrophobic layer is located on a side of the highly thermally conductive layer facing away from the immersion element.

5. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein the hydrophobic layer defines a surface of the at least one shielding.

6. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein, during use of the optical imaging device, the immersion zone is between the immersion element and the substrate.

7. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein: the immersion element comprises a first area optically used and a second area optically unused during use of the optical imaging device; the shielding thermally is configured to shield at least a part of a section of the second area against the immersion medium; and the section is the entire section of the second area located adjacent to the immersion medium.

8. The optical imaging device of claim 2, further comprising a further shielding, wherein: the immersion element comprises a first area optically used and a second area optically unused during use of the optical imaging device; the further shielding is a thermal decoupling device configured to thermally shield at least a part of a further section of the second area against an adjacent section of the projection device; and the further section is the entire section of the second area located adjacent to the adjacent section of the projection device.

9. The optical imaging device of claim 2, further comprising a holding device and a further shielding, wherein the immersion element is held by the holding device, and the further shielding defines a thermal decoupling device configured to thermally shield at least a part of the holding device against its environment.

10. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein the shielding comprises a passive thermally insulating layer.

11. The optical imaging device of claim 10, wherein the passive thermally insulating layer comprises an organic material.

12. The optical imaging device of claim 11, wherein the immersion element comprises a reflective coating, and at least a part of the organic material does not contact the reflective coating.

13. The optical imaging device of claim 10, wherein the thermally insulating layer is located immediately adjacent to the immersion element.

14. The optical imaging device of claim 2, further comprising a heat sink thermally connected to the thermally highly conductive layer.

15. The optical imaging device of claim 2, further comprising a thermally stabilizing device, wherein the thermally highly conductive layer is connected to the thermally stabilizing device located at a circumference of the thermally highly conductive layer.

16. The optical imaging device of claim 15, wherein the thermally stabilizing device has a high heat capacity to have a stable temperature.

17. The optical imaging device of claim 15, wherein the thermally stabilizing device is comprises a circuit of a heat carrier medium.

18. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein a setpoint temperature distribution is given for the immersion element, and the thermal attenuation device is configured to keep a given maximum deviation from the setpoint temperature distribution.

19. The optical imaging device of claim 13, wherein the maximum deviation is less than one mK.

20. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein: the immersion element has an actual temperature distribution and a setpoint temperature distribution; and the thermal attenuation device comprises: an establishing device; a control device at least temporarily connected to the establishing device; and an influencing device at least temporarily connected to the control device; the establishing device is configured to establishe at least one influencing parameter influencing the actual temperature distribution or being representative of the actual temperature distribution; the control device is configured to, as a function of the established influencing parameter and the setpoint temperature distribution, establish at least one control value; and the influencing device is configured to, as a function of the at least one established control value, influence a control parameter influencing the actual temperature distribution in such a manner that a deviation of the actual temperature distribution from the setpoint temperature distribution is counteracted.

21. The optical imaging device of claim 20, wherein: the influencing parameter is at least one local temperature of the immersion medium or at least one local temperature of the immersion element; and the establishment device comprises at least one member selected from the group consisting of a temperature sensor to measure the at least one local temperature and an estimation device to estimate the at least one local temperature.

22. The optical imaging device of claim 20, wherein the control parameter comprises at least one member selected from the group consisting of a temperature of the immersion medium, a flow rate of the immersion medium, a temperature of a gas atmosphere contacting the immersion medium, a humidity of a gas atmosphere contacting the immersion medium, a flow rate of a gas atmosphere contacting the immersion medium, and a temperature of at least one temperature adjustment element being in operative connection with the immersion element.

23. The optical imaging device of claim 20, wherein the control device is configured to use a temperature behavior model of at least one of the immersion element and the immersion medium within the immersion zone for establishing the control value.

24. Optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein the immersion element comprises a material from a material selected from the group consisting of a material having a refractive index larger than the refractive index of quartz glass, a material having a refractive index showing a higher temperature sensitivity than the refractive index of quartz glass, a spinel, and a LuAG.

25. The optical imaging device of claim 2, wherein the numerical aperture at least 1.3.

26. An method, comprising: projecting a projection pattern onto a substrate using optical elements of an optical element group, wherein: an immersion element of the optical element group is at least partially immersed into an immersion medium an a area of an immersion zone; a reduction of fluctuations within a temperature distribution the immersion element induced by the immersion medium is provided via a thermal attenuation device; at least one shielding forming at least one thermal decoupling device of the thermal attenuation device provides an at least partial thermal decoupling of the immersion element from at least a part of its environment; the at least one shielding comprises a thermally highly conductive layer.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation application of and claims priority to U.S. application Ser. No. 12/267,074, filed Nov. 7, 2008, which is a continuation of International Application No. PCT/EP2007/054503, filed on May 9, 2007, which claims priority to German Application No. 10 2006 021 797.7, filed May 9, 2006. U.S. application Ser. No. 12/267,074 and Internation application PCT/EP2007/054503 are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0002] The present disclosure relates to an optical imaging device. Disclosed embodiments may be used in the context of microlithography used in fabricating microelectronic circuits. The disclosure further relates to an optical imaging method which may, among others, be performed with the optical imaging device.

BACKGROUND

[0003] In microlithography it is generally desirable to keep the position and the geometry of the components (e.g., the optical elements such as lenses, mirrors and gratings) of an imaging device unchanged during operation to the highest possible extent in order to achieve a correspondingly high imaging quality. The tough requirements with respect to accuracy lying in a microscopic range in the area of a few nanometers are none the less a consequence of the permanent need to reduce the resolution of the optical systems used in fabricating microelectronic circuitry in order to push forward miniaturization of the microelectronic circuitry to be produced.

[0004] In order to achieve an increased resolution either the wavelength of light used may be reduced as it is the case with systems working in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) range at working wavelengths in the area of 13 nm or the numerical aperture of the projection system used may be increased. One possibility to remarkably increase the numerical aperture above the value 1 is realized in so-called immersion systems, wherein an immersion medium having a refractive index larger than 1 is placed between an immersion element of the projection system and the substrate to be exposed. A further increase in the numerical aperture is possible with optical elements having a particularly high refractive index.

[0005] In a so-called single immersion system, the immersion element (i.e. the optical element at least in part contacting the immersion medium in the immersed state) typically is the last optical element located closest to the substrate to be exposed. Here, the immersion medium typically contacts this last optical element and the substrate. In a so-called double immersion system, the immersion element does not necessarily have to be the last optical element, i.e., the optical element located closest to the substrate. In such double or multiple immersion systems, and immersion element may also be separated from the substrate by one or more further optical elements. In this case, the immersion medium the immersion element is at least partly immersed in may be placed, for example, between two optical elements of the optical system.

[0006] With the reduction of the working wavelength as well as with the increase of the numerical aperture not only the requirements with respect to the positioning accuracy and the dimensional accuracy of the optical elements used become more strict throughout the entire operation. Of course, the requirements with respect to the minimization of imaging errors of the entire optical arrangement increase as well.

[0007] The temperature distribution within the optical elements used and the deformation of the respective optical element eventually resulting from the temperature distribution as well as an eventual temperature related variation of the refractive index of the respective optical element can be important in this context.

[0008] Various approaches taken to actively counteract heating of a mirror (e.g., in an EUV system) resulting from the incident light and to keep a temperature captured at a given location within the mirror actively within given limits. For example., one can use a temperature adjustment device located centrally on the backside of a mirror including Peltier elements or the like to provide targeted cooling. This solution, on the one hand, can have the disadvantage that it is not suitable for use with refractive optical elements as they are used in particular with the immersion systems mentioned above since the central temperature adjustment device would then cover the area optically used. On the other hand, only the temperature of a single location within the mirror is generally reliably controlled in a more or less stationary state considering the light energy absorbed by the mirror. Further thermal influences of the environment, in particular non-stationary and/or locally varying thermal influences as they may be introduced by an immersion medium and as they may cause dynamic and local fluctuations in the temperature distribution within the mirror, respectively, remain unconsidered. See, e.g., EP 1 477 853 A2 (to Sakamoto), the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

SUMMARY

[0009] In general, in one aspect, the disclosure features an optical imaging device as well as an optical imaging method not showing these disadvantages or at least showing them to a lesser degree and, in particular, allows in a simple manner compensation of local thermal environmental influences to the optical element besides the consideration of absorption effects of the projection light.

[0010] It is believed that such thermal environmental influences, in particular, influences originating from the immersion medium, in an immersion system may cause local fluctuations within the temperature distribution of the respective optical elements that are not negligible or even considerable in relation to the absorption effects of the projection light. Accordingly, it is believed that the desired compensation of such thermal environmental influences can also be possible with refractive systems and refractive optical elements, respectively, as they are used with immersion systems if a corresponding thermal attenuation is available reducing, besides the absorption related fluctuations, also fluctuations in the temperature distribution of the respective optical element induced by the environment of the respective optical element. To this end, with a variant with an immersion system, a thermal attenuation device can be provided for an immersion element, the thermal attenuation device being adapted to provide a reduction of fluctuations in the temperature distribution of the immersion element induced by the immersion medium. It is possible, besides accounting for absorption effects, to account for the local fluctuations within the temperature distribution of the immersion element in induced, among others, by the immersion medium.

[0011] In some embodiments, in particular for refractive elements, a corresponding temperature behavior model, in particular accounting for non-stationary and/or local environmental influences, may be set up and used in an active control of the temperature distribution. With such a temperature behavior model, one can predict or estimate the temperature distribution which is, if at all, only hardly to the measured in the optically used area without disturbance to the imaging process, and to account for this predicted or estimated temperature distribution in the control of the temperature distribution.

[0012] In a further aspect, the disclosure features an optical imaging device, in particular for use in microlithography, including a mask device for receiving a mask comprising a projection pattern, a projection device with an optical element group, a substrate device for receiving a substrate and an immersion zone. The optical element group is adapted to project the projection pattern onto the substrate and includes a plurality of optical elements with an immersion element to which the substrate is at least temporarily located adjacent to during operation. During operation, the immersion zone is located between the immersion element and the substrate and is at least temporarily filled with an immersion medium. A thermal attenuation device is provided, the thermal attenuation device being adapted to reduce fluctuations within the temperature distribution TE of the immersion element induced by the immersion medium.

[0013] In another aspect, the disclosure features an optical imaging method, in particular for use in microlithography, wherein a projection pattern is projected onto a substrate using the optical elements of an optical element group, an immersion element of the optical element group being at least partly immersed in an immersion medium in the area of an immersion zone located adjacent to the substrate. According to the disclosure, via a thermal attenuation device, fluctuations in the temperature distribution TE of the immersion element induced by the immersion medium are reduced.

[0014] In another aspect, the disclosure features an optical imaging device, in particular for microlithography, comprising a mask device for receiving a mask comprising a projection pattern, a projection device with an optical element group, a substrate device for receiving a substrate and an immersion zone, wherein the optical element group is adapted to project the projection pattern onto the substrate. The optical element group includes a plurality of optical elements with at least one immersion element at least temporarily immersed in an immersion medium in the area of an immersion zone during operation. There is provided a thermal attenuation device adapted to reduce fluctuations within the temperature distribution TE of the immersion element induced by the immersion medium, wherein the thermal attenuation device includes at least one thermal decoupling device for at least partial thermal decoupling of the immersion element from at least a part of its environment.

[0015] In another aspect, the disclosure features an optical imaging method, in particular for use in microlithography, wherein a projection pattern is projected onto a substrate using the optical elements of an optical element group, an immersion element of the optical element group being at least partly immersed in an immersion medium in the area of an immersion zone. According to the disclosure, via a thermal attenuation device, fluctuations in the temperature distribution TE of the immersion element induced by the immersion medium are reduced, wherein by the thermal attenuation device that at least partial thermal decoupling of the immersion element from at least a part of its environment is provided.

[0016] In a further aspect, the disclosure features an optical imaging device, in particular for use in microlithography, comprising a mask device for receiving a mask comprising a projection pattern, a projection device with an optical element group, a substrate device for receiving a substrate. The optical element group is adapted to project the projection pattern onto the substrate and includes a plurality of optical elements with at least one thermally controlled optical element. According to the disclosure a thermal attenuation device is associated to the thermally controlled optical element, the thermal attenuation device being adapted to reduce fluctuations within the temperature distribution TE of the thermally controlled optical element, wherein the thermal attenuation device, for reducing temperature fluctuations within the thermally controlled optical element, accesses a temperature behavior model of the thermally controlled optical element.

[0017] In another aspect, the disclosure features an optical imaging method, in particular for use in microlithography, wherein a projection pattern is projected onto a substrate using the optical elements of an optical element group, the optical elements comprising a thermally is controlled optical element. According to the disclosure, via a thermal attenuation device, fluctuations within the temperature distribution TE of the thermally controlled optical element are reduced, wherein for reducing the temperature fluctuations within the thermally controlled optical element a temperature behavior model of the thermally controlled optical element is accessed.

[0018] The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features and advantages will be apparent from the description, drawings, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of an embodiment of an optical imaging device according to the disclosure with which an embodiment of an optical imaging method;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a schematic partially sectional view of a part of the imaging device of FIG. 1;

[0021] FIG. 3 is a schematic partially sectional view showing the detail D of FIG. 2 for an an embodiment of the optical imaging device;

[0022] FIG. 4 is a schematic partially sectional view showing the detail D of FIG. 2 for an an embodiment of the optical imaging device;

[0023] FIG. 5 is a schematic partially sectional view showing the detail D of FIG. 2 for an embodiment of the optical imaging device;

[0024] FIG. 6 is a schematic partially sectional view showing the detail D of FIG. 2 for an embodiment of the optical imaging device;

[0025] FIG. 7 is a schematic partially sectional view showing the detail D of FIG. 2 for an embodiment of the optical imaging device;

[0026] FIG. 8 is a schematic partially sectional view showing the detail D of FIG. 2 for an embodiment of the optical imaging device;

[0027] FIG. 9 is a block diagram of an embodiment of the optical imaging method which may be executed with the optical imaging device of FIG. 1;

[0028] FIG. 10 is a schematic partially sectional view of an embodiment of the optical imaging device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0029] In the following, an embodiment of the optical imaging device for use in a microlithography process will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 to 9.

[0030] FIG. 1 shows a schematic representation of an embodiment of the optical imaging device in the form of a microlithography device 101 operating with light in the UV range at a wavelength of 193 nm.

[0031] The microlithography device 101 includes an illumination system 102, a mask device in the form of a mask table 103, and optical projection system in the form of an objective 104 having an optical axis 104.1 and a substrate device in the form of a wafer table 105. The illumination system 102 illuminates a mask 103.1 arranged on the mask table 103 with a projection light beam--not shown in further detail--having a wavelength of 193 nm. A projection pattern is formed on the mask 104.3 which is projected with the projection light beam via the optical elements arranged within the objective 104 onto a substrate in the form of a wafer 105.1 arranged on the wafer table 105.

[0032] is The objective 104 includes an optical element group 106 formed by a gay series of optical elements 107 to 109. The optical elements 107 to 109 are held within the housing 104.2 of the objective. Due to the working wavelength of 193 nm the optical elements 107 to 109 are refractive optical elements such as lenses or the like. Thereby, the last optical element 109 located closest to the wafer 105.1 during operation is a so called closing element or last lens element.

[0033] The microlithography device 101 is an immersion system. In an immersion zone 110, a liquid immersion medium 110.1, for example highly purified water or the like, is arranged between the wafer 105.1 and the last lens element 109. Within the immersion zone 110 there is provided an immersion bath of the immersion medium 110.1 on the one hand downwardly delimited at least by the part of the wafer 105.1 to be actually exposed. The lateral limitation on the immersion bath is provided at least partially by an immersion frame 110.2 (typically also called an immersion hood). At least the part of the last lens element 109 optically used during exposure and the part of the last lens element 109 lying on the outer side of the objective 104 is immersed in the immersion bath such that the last lens element 109 is an immersion element. Thus, the path of exiting from the last lens element 109 between the last lens element 109 and the wafer is located exclusively within the immersion medium 110.

[0034] Due to the refractive index of the immersion medium lying above the value 1 a numerical aperture NA>1 is achieved and the resolution is enhanced with respect to a conventional system with a gas atmosphere between the last lens element and the wafer.

[0035] In order to achieve a numerical aperture with a value NA>1.4 a material can be used for last lens element 109 that has a refractive index above the refractive index of quartz (SiO) or calcium fluoride (CaF) typically used for such lens elements. In the present embodiment the material of the last lens element 109 is a spinel. However, in some embodiments, other lens materials having a correspondingly high refractive index and being suitable for the respective wavelength may be used. An example for such a lens is material is LuAG (Lutetium aluminum garnet, for example Lu.sub.3Al.sub.5O.sub.12). Furthermore, conventional quartz or calcium fluoride lenses can be used. Furthermore, other numerical apertures may be selected. With respect to a high resolution, however, the numerical aperture can have a value of at least 1.3.

[0036] The spinel used for the last lens element 109 is a considerably higher temperature sensitivity of the refractive index than conventional quartz or calcium fluoride lenses. Thus, it is necessary to keep the actual temperature distribution TE within the last lens element within narrow variation limits during operation in order to maintain a given setpoint temperature distribution TSE in order to at least reduce (e.g., minimize) imaging errors resulting from corresponding variations in the refractive index of the last lens element 109.

[0037] It will be appreciated however that, in particular in the area of microlithography, with systems having optical elements made from quartz (SiO) or calcium fluoride (CaF), variations or fluctuations in the temperature distribution of the immersion elements may occur that are not negligible any more such that, for such systems as well, using the disclosed techniques for thermal attenuation can be of great advantage.

[0038] In order to meet these narrow variation limits around a given setpoint temperature distribution TSE, a thermal attenuation device 111 is provided. In the following the thermal attenuation device 111 is described in further detail mainly with reference to the FIGS. 2 to 9. FIG. 2 shows--partially in a highly schematic manner--a half-section of the wafer side end of the objective 104.

[0039] In the present example, thanks to the thermal attenuation device 110, a maximum deviation .DELTA.TE=1 mK from a given setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109 is achieved during operation of the microlithography device 101. the imaging errors and imaging error variations, respectively, resulting from family induced deformation and thermally induced refractive index alterations may be kept sufficiently low in order to achieve a high imaging quality. However, it will be appreciated that, with other variants of the disclosure, other, eventually higher maximum deviations are possible, in particular depending on the thermal deformation behavior and the thermal refractive index variation of the material used. In some embodiments, these maximum deviations do not exceed 10 mK since then a particularly high imaging quality may be achieved.

[0040] It will be appreciated in this context that the given setpoint temperature distribution TSE may be arbitrarily selected. It may be selected such that the last lens element 109 in itself, at least one imaging error type, has a minimized imaging error. However, it may also be selected such that the last lens element 109, at this setpoint temperature distribution TSE, in itself for at least one imaging error type has an imaging error having a sufficient amount to reduce or even fully compensate a corresponding imaging error of the remaining optical elements of the optical element group 106 such that at least one imaging error type the overall imaging error of the objective 104 is minimized. See, e.g., EP 0 956 871 A1 (to Rupp), the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

[0041] The thermal attenuation device 111 includes a plurality of active thermal attenuation control circuits as well as passive thermal attenuation components. Among others, it includes as a first thermal attenuation control circuit a control circuit for specific control of the supply temperature of the immersion medium 110.1 to the immersion zone.

[0042] To this end, the first thermal attenuation control circuit 112 includes a supply device 112.1, a first temperature adjustment device 112.2, first temperature sensors 112.3 and a control device 111.1. Via at least one supply line the supply device 112.1 provides the immersion medium 110.1 in a sufficient amount and a sufficient flow rate to the immersion zone 110. A first temperature adjustment device 112.2 connected to the control device 111.1 is arranged shortly ahead of the access point of the immersion medium 110.1 to the immersion zone 110 and adjusts the temperature of the immersion medium 110.1 to a desired supply temperature TIF. The first temperature sensors 112.3 are connected to the control device 111.1 via wireless and/or at least partially wire bound connections--not shown for reasons of better visibility.

[0043] The desired supply temperature TIF is established by the control device 111.1 the manner described in the following. the first temperature sensors 112.3 being evenly distributed at the circumference of the immersion zone 110 and representing a first establishing device in the sense of the present disclosure the temperature of the immersion medium 110.1 at the circumference of the immersion zone 110 is detected. The first temperature sensors 112.3 provide corresponding first temperature data to associated inputs 111.2 of the control device 111.1.

[0044] However, it will be appreciated that, instead of the direct measurement via the first temperature sensors 112.3 evenly distributed at the circumference of the immersion zone 110, a measurement or establishment of a temperature or at least another parameter may be provided at a different location. From this temperature or parameter, in an estimation device, via a corresponding sufficiently accurate estimation--based on a sufficiently accurately known relation between this established parameter and the temperature of the immersion medium 110.1 at the circumference of the immersion zone 110--the temperature of the immersion medium at the circumference of the immersion zone 110 may be estimated.

[0045] From these first temperature data the control device 111.1 establishes an actual temperature distribution TI within the immersion zone 110 using a stored first temperature behavior model of the immersion medium 110.1. As further parameters the first temperature behavior model hereby considers the actual supply temperature TIF of the immersion medium (provided to the control device 111.1 by the first temperature adjustment device 112.2), the flow rate of the immersion medium 110.1 (provided to the control device 111.1 by the supply device 112.1), the actual temperature distribution TE of the last lens element 109 (established in a manner described in further detail below) and the actual light power (provided to the control device by the illumination device 102).

[0046] From the actual temperature distribution TI, depending on a given setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium 110.1, the control device 111.1 establishes a first control value C for the temperature adjustment device 112.2 and/or the supply device 112.1. Using this first control value C the temperature adjustment device performs the adjustment of the supply temperature TIF and/or the supply device 112.1 performs adjustment of the flow rate in such a manner that the actual temperature distribution TI approaches the setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium 110.

[0047] Establishment of the supply temperature TIF may be performed as a function of an alteration .DELTA.TIE within the actual temperature distribution TI that is to be expected from the temperatures and parameters previously captured or established. In other words, using the temperature behavior model, such an alteration .DELTA.TIE may be anticipated and counteracted prior to its (full) existence.

[0048] The actual temperature distribution TI within the immersion medium 110.1 represents a parameter P influencing the temperature of the last lens element 109 since, due to a temperature gradient between the immersion medium 110.1 and the last lens element 109 a heat transfer occurs between the immersion medium 110.1 and the last lens element 109 leading to a temperature alteration in the last lens element 109. Furthermore, the supply temperature TIF and/or the flow rate represent control parameters since they may be used to influence the temperature gradient between the immersion medium 110.1 and the last lens element 109 and the heat transfer between the immersion medium 110.1 and last lens element 109, respectively. Accordingly, the temperature adjustment device 112.2 and/or the supply device 112.1 respectively represent influencing devices.

[0049] It will be appreciated in this context that the given setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium 110.1 may be selected in an arbitrary manner. It may be set in a static manner such that, in case of an existence of the setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium 110.1 and in case of an existence of the setpoint temperature distribution TSE within the last lens element 109, no temperature gradient and, consequently, no heat transfer exists between the last lens element 109 and the immersion medium 110.

[0050] In other words, if the last lens element 109 is in its setpoint state in this case, no considerable thermal disturbance is introduced into the last lens element 109 by the immersion medium 110 controlled in this manner. However, if the last lens element 109 in this case is in a state deviating from its setpoint state a temperature gradient results between the last lens element 109 and the immersion medium 110.1 counteracting the actual deviation between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109 such that via the immersion medium 110.1 controlled in this manner an attenuation effect is achieved.

[0051] The setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium 110.1 may also be selected as a function of the actual temperature distribution TE of the last lens element 109 in such a manner that, in case of an existence of the setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium 110.1, a given temperature gradient and, thus, a given heat transfer is provided between the last lens element 109 and the immersion medium 110.1. The temperature gradient between the last lens element 109 and the immersion medium 110.1 can be selected in such a manner that it counteracts a deviation of the actual temperature distribution TE of the last lens element 109 from the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109 such that here as well a thermal attenuation effect is achieved via the immersion medium 110.1 controlled in this manner.

[0052] In this case the temperature gradient between the last lens element 109 and the immersion medium 110.1 set via the immersion medium 110.1 can be selected the higher the higher the deviation of the actual temperature distribution TE is from the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109. In other words, in this manner a dynamic thermal attenuation of deviations between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109 may be achieved.

[0053] If in this case the last lens element 109 is in its setpoint state the immersion medium 110.1 controlled in this manner does not introduce a considerable thermal disturbance into the last lens element 109. If this is not the case, the counteraction via the immersion medium 110.1 controlled in this manner is the stronger the higher the deviation is between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109.

[0054] The thermal attenuation device 111 further includes as a second thermal attenuation control circuit a control circuit 113 for a specified control of the temperature TA and/or the humidity HA and/or the flow rate VA of the gas atmosphere 113.1 contacting the free surface 110.3 of the immersion medium 110.1.

[0055] The second thermal attenuation control circuit 113, to this end, includes a second supply device 113.2 former gas atmosphere 113.1 and the control device 111.1. The second supply device 113.2, via at least one supply line, provides a gas in a sufficient amount where with corresponding temperature and flow rate at the free surface 110.3 of the immersion medium 110.1. The second supply device 113.2 adjusts the temperature and/or the humidity and/or the flow rate of the gas atmosphere 113.12 desired values established by the control device 111.1 in the manner described in the following.

[0056] The control device 111.1 in the manner described above establishes the actual temperature distribution TI within the immersion medium 110.1 within the immersion zone 110. From the actual temperature distribution TI within the immersion medium 110.1 the control device 111.1 then establishes, as a function of a given setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium, a second control value C for the second supply device 113.2. Using the second control value C the second supply device 113.2 performs in the adjustment of the temperature and/or the humidity and/or the flow rate of the gas atmosphere 113.1.

[0057] In each case, the adjustment may be provided in such a manner that evaporation of the immersion medium at the fray surface 110.3 of the immersion medium 110.1 is minimized. In some embodiments, this happens by adjusting the temperature of the gas atmosphere 113.1 in such a manner that it corresponds to the temperature of the immersion medium 110.1 at the free surface 110.3 and by adjusting the humidity of the gas atmosphere 113.1 to a sufficiently high value (e.g., to a complete saturation) in order to avoid evaporation of the immersion medium 110.1 and, consequently, a heat transfer from the immersion medium 110.1.

[0058] In other words, with this variant, it is avoided that via an evaporation of the immersion medium 110.1 at the free surface 110.3 a thermal disturbance is introduced into the immersion medium and, thus, also into the last lens element 109.

[0059] The control via the second thermal attenuation control circuit 113 is subordinate to the control via the first thermal attenuation control circuit 112. However, in some embodiments, eventually an active use of the thermal disturbance via the evaporation induced heat transfer from the immersion medium 110.1 may be provided in order to counteract deviations between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109 and, thus, to achieve a thermal attenuation effect.

[0060] For example, in the setpoint state of the last lens element 109, a certain evaporation rate may exist which, depending on the direction of the deviation to be attenuated between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109, may then be increased or reduced in order to approach the actual temperature distribution TI of the immersion medium 110.1 to a correspondingly changed setpoint temperature distribution TSI of the immersion medium, i.e. to raise or lower, respectively, the temperature, and, thus to counteract, via the temperature gradient between the immersion medium 110.1 and the last lens element 109, the deviation between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109.

[0061] Here as well, the temperature and/or the humidity and/or the flow rate of the gas atmosphere 113.1 represent control parameters CP since, via these parameters, the temperature gradient between the immersion medium 110.1 and the last lens element 109 and the heat transport between the immersion medium 110.1 and the last lens element 109, respectively, may be influenced. Accordingly, the second supply device 113.2 also represents an influencing device.

[0062] It will be appreciated in this context that, here as well, the given setpoint temperature distribution TSI within the immersion medium 110.1 may be selected arbitrarily in the manner as it has been described above. Furthermore, it will be appreciated that the free surface 110.3 may be the entire or a part of the free surface of the immersion medium 110.1.

[0063] The thermal attenuation device 111 further includes as a third thermal attenuation control circuit a control circuit in 114 for a specified direct influencing of the temperature of the last lens element 109.

[0064] To this end, the third thermal attenuation control circuit 114 includes a plurality of second temperature adjustment devices in the form of Peltier elements 114.1 evenly distributed at the circumference of the last lens element 109, second temperature sensors 114.2 and the control device 111.1. The Peltier elements 114.1 connected to the control device 111.1 cool or heat the last lens element 109--as will be explained in the following in greater detail--in such a manner that a deviation between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element is counteracted and, thus, a thermal attenuation effect is achieved as well.

[0065] Using the second temperature sensors 114.2 and 114.3 evenly distributed at the last lens element 109 and representing a establishment device the temperature of the last lens element 109 at the respective locations of the last lens element 109 is established. The second temperature sensors 114.2 and 114.3 provide corresponding first temperature data to associated inputs 111.2 of the control device 111.1.

[0066] It will be appreciated here as well that, instead of the direct measurement via the temperature sensors 114.2, 114.3 evenly distributed at the last lens element 109, a measure meant or establishment of a temperature or of at least one other parameter may be provided at a different location. From this temperature or parameter, in an estimation device, via a corresponding sufficiently accurate estimation--based on a sufficiently accurately known relation between this established parameter and the temperature of the last lens element 109--the temperature of the last lens element 109 may be estimated.

[0067] From these first temperature data the control device 111.1 establishes an actual temperature distribution TE within the last lens element 109 using a stored first temperature behavior model of the last lens element 109. As further parameters the first temperature behavior model hereby considers the actual temperature distribution TI of the immersion medium 110.1 and the actual light power (provided to the control device 11.1 by the illumination device 102).

[0068] From the actual temperature distribution TE within the last lens element 109, depending on a given setpoint temperature distribution TSE within the last lens element 109, the control device 111.1 establishes a third control value C for the Peltier elements 114.1. Using this third control value C the temperature of the surface of the Peltier elements 114.1 directed towards the surface of the last lens element 109 is adjusted. Accordingly, Peltier elements 114.1 heat or cool the surface of the last lens element 109 in such a manner that the actual temperature distribution TE approaches the setpoint temperature distribution TSE within the last lens element 109.

[0069] The temperature of the surface of the Peltier elements 114.1 directed towards the surface of the last lens element 109 thus represents a control parameter CP since, via this temperature the heat transfer between the Peltier elements 114.1 and the last lens element 109 may be influenced. Accordingly, the Peltier elements 114.1 can represent influencing devices.

[0070] As shown in FIG. 3, the third thermal attenuation control circuit 114, with other variants of the microlithography device 101, in addition or as an alternative to the Peltier elements 114.1, may comprise a (further) second temperature adjustment device in the form of a resistance heating device 114.4 in the optically unused area of the lens element 109. The resistance heating device 114.4 connected to the control device 111.1 heats the last lens element 109--as will be explained in further detail below --in such a manner that a deviation between the actual temperature distribution TE and the setpoint temperature distribution TSE of the last lens element 109 is counteracted and, thus, a thermal attenuation effect is achieved as well.

[0071] FIG. 3, in a schematic view corresponding to detail D of FIG. 2, shows a resistance heating device 114.4 of a further embodiment of the microlithography device 101. As may be seen from FIG. 3, the resistance heating device 114.4 includes a plurality of electrically conductive elements 114.5 suitably connected to each other and to the control device 111.1. The electrically conductive elements 114.5 are embedded within the surface of the last lens element 109.

[0072] The electrically conductive elements 114.5 may be fabricated, for example, by placing a metal powder (later forming the electrically conductive elements 114.5) on the surface of the last lens element 109 in a desired configuration. The metal powder is that heated up, e.g. using a infrared laser, to such an extent that the metal powder melts and connects to form the electrically conductive elements. Furthermore, due to its higher density, the molten metal powder sinks into the locally molten matrix of the last lens element 109.

[0073] It may be provided that the electrically conductive elements 114.5 are a fully embedded within the matrix on the last lens element 109 as it is shown in FIG. 3. In some embodiments, it may also be provided that the electrically conductive elements 114.5 are only partially surrounded by the matrix of the last lens element 109. In this case a protective layer (as it is indicated in FIG. 3 by the dashed contour 114.6) may be provided. This protective layer 114.6 may protect the electrically conductive elements 114.5 against the aggressive immersion medium 110.1. The protective layer 114.6 may for example be a quartz (SiO) layer that has been applied via a sputter process, a CVD (chemical vapor deposition) process or the like. It will be further appreciated that the protective layer 114.6 may eventually comprise the electrical connections between the electrically conductive elements 114.5 as well as the electrical connections to the control device 111.1.

[0074] As had already been explained, using the second temperature sensors 114.2 and 114.3 (see FIG. 2) the temperature of the last lens element 109 is captured at the respective locations of the last lens element 109. The second temperature sensors 114.2 and 114.3 provide corresponding first temperature data to the associated inputs 111.2 of the control is device 111.1.

[0075] It will be appreciated that, here as well, instead of the direct measurement via the temperature sensors 114.2, 114.3 evenly distributed over the last lens element 109, a measurement or establishment of a temperature or at least another parameter may be provided at a different location. From this measured or established temperature or parameter, in an estimation device, via a corresponding sufficiently accurate estimation--based on a sufficiently accurately known relation between this established parameter/temperature and the temperature of the last lens element 109--the temperature of the last lens element 109 may be estimated.

[0076] From these first temperature data the control device 111.1 establishes an actual temperature distribution TE within the last lens element 109 using a stored first temperature behavior model of the last lens element 109. As further parameters the first temperature behavior model hereby considers the actual temperature distribution TI of the immersion medium 110.1 and the actual light power (provided to the control device 111.1 by the illumination device 102).

[0077] From the actual temperature distribution TE within the last lens element 109, depending on a given setpoint temperature distribution TSE within the last lens element 109, the control device 111.1 establishes a third control value C for the resistance heating device 114.4. Using this third control value C, via a corresponding electric current within the electrically conductive elements 114.5, the temperature of the resistance heating device 114.4 is adjusted. Accordingly, the resistance heating device 114.4 heats the last lens element 109 in such a manner that the actual temperature distribution TE approaches the setpoint temperature distribution TSE within the last lens element 109.

[0078] It will be appreciated that the resistance heating device 114.4 may be segmented in an arbitrarily fine manner, i.e. separated in an arbitrary number of segments selectively controllable by the control device 111.1. Using this, it is possible to achieve an arbitrary desired temperature distribution within the resistance heating device 114.4.

[0079] The temperature of the electrically conductive elements 114.5 thus represents a control parameter CP since the heat transfer between the electrically conductive elements 114.5 and the last lens element 109 may be influenced by this temperature. Thus, the electrically conductive elements 114.5 respectively represent an influencing device.

[0080] FIG. 4, in a schematic view corresponding to detail D of FIG. 2, shows a resistance heating device 214.4 of a further embodiment of the microlithography device 101. The resistance heating device 214.4 may be used instead of the resistance heating device 114.4 of FIG. 3. As may be seen from FIG. 4, the resistance heating device 214.4 includes a plurality of electrically conductive elements 214.5 suitably connected to each other and to the control device 111.1. The electrically conductive elements 214.5 are arranged on the surface of the last lens element 109 then and embedded within a protective layer 214.6.

[0081] The electrically conductive elements 214.5 may be applied to the surface all the last lens element 109 in the desired configuration using a thin layer technique and/or a thick layer technique. Subsequently, they may be coated with the protective layer 214.6.

[0082] The protective layer 214.6, among others protecting the electrically conductive elements 214.5 from the aggressive immersion medium 110.1, maybe an arbitrary protective layer. For example, the protective layer 214.6 may be a quartz (SiO) layer that has been applied via a sputter process, a CVD (chemical vapor deposition) process or the like.

[0083] The protective layer 214.6 may also comprise a polymeric material. A polyimide (PI) material (such as the material sold by DuPont.RTM. under the name Kapton.RTM.) is particularly suitable. It will be appreciated that, for example, the protective layer 214.6 may be formed by a polyimide carrier film to which the electrically conductive elements 214.5 are applied in the desired configuration. This carrier film may then be applied to the last lens element 109 and, for example, the adhesively connected to the last lens element 109.

[0084] As may be seen from FIG. 4, the protective layer 214.6 holds a plurality of further temperature sensors 214.2 connected to the control device 111.1. These temperature sensors 214.2 (in addition or as an alternative to the temperature sensors 114.2, 114.3) capture the temperature of the last lens element 109 at the respective location. The temperature sensors 214.2 provide corresponding first temperature data to the associated inputs 111.2 of the control device 111.1.

[0085] The functionality on the resistance heating device 214.4 is identical to the functionality of the resistance heating device 114.4 as it has been described above. Thus, it is here only referred to the explanations given above. In particular, the resistance heating device 214.4 again may be segmented in an arbitrarily fine manner.

[0086] FIG. 5, in a schematic view corresponding to detail D of FIG. 2, shows a radiation heating device 314.4 of a further embodiment of the microlithography device 101. The radiation heating device 314.4 may be used instead of the resistance heating device 114.4 of FIG. 3. As may be seen from FIG. 5 the radiation heating device 314.4 includes a plurality of heating elements 314.5 connected to the control device 111.1.

[0087] The heating elements 314.5 are arranged at the immersion frame 110.2. The heating elements 314.5 under the control of the control device 111.1 emit targeted infrared radiation IR towards the last lens element 109 in order to heat the last lens element 109. The heating elements 314.5 may be formed by so-called hollow core fibres guiding the infrared radiation of a coupled infrared radiation source of the control device 111.1 towards the last lens element 109.

[0088] The functionality of the radiation heating device 314.4 largely corresponds to the functionality of the resistance heating device 114.4 as it has been described above. Thus, is here mainly referred to the explanations given above.

[0089] Here as well, from the actual temperature distribution TE within the last lens element 109, depending on a given setpoint temperature distribution TSE within the last lens element 109, the control device 111.1 establishes a third control value C for the radiation heating device 314.4. Using this third control value C the radiation intensity of the heating elements 314.5 is adjusted. Accordingly, the heating elements 314.5 heat the last lens element 109 in such a manner that the actual temperature distribution TE approaches the setpoint temperature distribution TSE within the last lens element 109.

[0090] The radiation intensity of the heating elements 314.5 thus represents a control parameter CP since the heat transfer between the heating elements 314.5 and the last lens element 109 may be influenced by this radiation intensity. Thus, the heating elements 314.5 respectively represent an influencing device.

[0091] It will be appreciated that the radiation heating device 314.4 may allow an arbitrarily finely segmented radiation of the last lens element 109. In other words, the radiation heating device 314.4 may comprise an arbitrary number of segments selectively controllable by the control device 111.1. Using this, it is possible to provide an arbitrary radiation intensity distribution via the radiation heating device 314.4.

[0092] The thermal attenuation control device 111 further includes a first shielding in the form of a thermally insulating coating 115 of the last lens element 109, the coating 115 forming a thermal decoupling device in the form of a first passive thermal attenuation component of the attenuation control device 111.

[0093] The coating 115 extends over the section 109.1 of the surface of the last lens element 109 that it is located adjacent to the immersion of medium 110.1 and is optically unused when projecting the projection pattern onto the wafer 105. Via this thermally insulating coating 115 the last lens element 109 and the immersion zone 110 with the immersion medium 110.1 are section-wise thermally decoupled such that, at least external to the section 109.2 of the surface of the last lens element 109 optically used, thermal disturbances in the immersion medium 110.1 are prevented from directly propagating within the last lens element 109.

[0094] The coating 115 may be of any suitable material or material combination providing sufficient thermal insulation properties. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2 the coating 115 includes a layer of an organic material, here a polyurethane (PU) resin, that has been applied to the surface section 109.1 of the last lens element 109 via a suitable technique such as, for example, a casting technique, a varnishing technique etc. After its appliance the surface of the organic layer may be treated using any known surface treatment technique in order to provide a desired surface roughness.

[0095] Part or all of the surface of the organic layer not contacting the last lens element 109 may be provided with a suitable reflective coating. This reflective coating reflects projection light scattered by the surface of the wafer 105.1 and/or the immersion medium 110.1 and/or the immersion frame 110.2 etc., thus, preventing (long-term) damage to the organic layer of the coating 115 that might otherwise be caused by such scattered projection light.

[0096] The shielding 115, in principle, may be designed in any suitable way to provide the thermal decoupling of the last lens element 109 from its environment, in particular the immersion medium. In particular, it may be a simple single-layer or multi-layer thermal insulation. As will be explained in further detail below, it may also be a combination of two or more layers with at least one highly thermally conductive layer and at least one thermally insulating layer. In this case, the highly thermally conductive layer may serve to transport heat towards the circumference of the last lens element (to a heat sink eventually provided at this location) and, thus, to prevent or reduce, respectively, its introduction into the last lens element.

[0097] In some embodiments, on its side facing away from the last lens element 109, the shielding 115 may have a hydrophobic surface. This hydrophobic surface may eventually be formed by a separate layer only provided for this reason. Using this, at least largely situations may be avoided wherein separate drops or droplets of the immersion medium 110 accumulate at the (eventually coated) surface of the last lens element 109. Such drops or droplets of immersion medium might otherwise evaporate and cause formation of a locally concentrated strong heat sink leading to a strong locally concentrated thermal disturbance in the last lens element 109.

[0098] Such drops or droplets of immersion medium 110.1 may for example form at the surface areas of the last lens element 109 that are only temporarily wetted with the immersion medium 110.1 (e.g. due to wafer movement induced immersion medium level alterations during operation of the microlithography device 101). The hydrophobic surface, in an advantageous manner, hinders formation of such drops or droplets of immersion medium 110.1 on the (eventually coated) surface of the last lens element 109.

[0099] FIG. 6, in a schematic view corresponding to detail D of FIG. 2, shows a thermal decoupling device in the form of a thermal shielding 415 of a further embodiment of the microlithography device 101. The shielding 415 may be used instead of the shielding 115 of FIG. 2.

[0100] As may be seen from FIG. 6, the shielding 415 has a multi-layer design as it has been mentioned above. The shielding 415 includes a combination of a thermally insulating first layer 415.1 located immediately adjacent to the last lens element 109 and a highly thermally conductive second layer 415.2 located immediately adjacent to the first layer 415.1. Furthermore, a hydrophobic third layer 415.3 is applied to the outer surface of the second layer 415.2.

[0101] The thermally insulating the first layer 415.1 includes a spacer body 415.4. The spacer body 415.4 is of sufficient rigidity to keep its shape under any normal operating conditions of the microlithography device 101. Thus, the spacer body 415.4, under normal operating conditions, provides a defined distance between the surface of the last lens element 109 and the second layer 415.2. In some embodiments, separate spacer elements may be provided instead of a single spacer body.

[0102] The spacer body 415.4 is permeable to a fluid (i.e. a gas and/or a liquid). For example, an open-celled foam may be used to form the spacer body 415.4. Thus, between the surface of the last lens element 109 and the second layer 415.2, an interstice is defined forming the first layer 415.1. The interstice forming the first layer 415.1 is filled with a fluid (such as a gas or a liquid) of low thermal conductivity. Eventually, the interstice 415.1 may be (continuously or intermittently) rinsed with a suitably temperature adjusted fluid to guarantee the desired thermally insulating effect of the first layer 415.1.

[0103] In order to prevent ingress of immersion medium 110.1 into the interstice 415.1 a circumferential sealing element 415.5 is provided between the last lens element 109 and the second layer 415.2. The sealing element 415.5 may be a ring formed by an adhesive which, in addition, provides fixation on the second layer of 415.2 with respect to the last lens element 109.

[0104] The second layer 415.2, due to its high thermal conductivity, guarantees a good heat transfer in the radial direction R of the last lens element 109. Thus, thermal disturbances induced by the immersion medium 110.1 are rapidly reduced or even fully compensated by a correspondingly high heat transfer within the second layer 415.2. Consequently, such thermal disturbances, if at all, may propagate only to a reduced extent towards the last lens element 109. In other words, an efficient thermal attenuation effect is achieved. A further reduction of the propagation of such thermal disturbances is provided by the thermally insulating first layer 415.1. In other words, via the shielding 415 forming a thermal decoupling device, the last lens element 109 is effectively thermally decoupled from its environment, in particular from the immersion medium 110.1.

[0105] In order to achieve a rapid heat transfer within the second layer 415.2 a stabilizing device 415.6 may be provided at the outer circumference of the second layer 415.2. The stabilizing device may have a high heat capacity and, thus, a stable temperature during operation of the microlithography device 101. For example, the stabilizing device 415.6 may be formed by a circuit of a heat carrier medium.

[0106] The hydrophobic third layer 415.3, again, reduces the likelihood of the formation of local heat sinks due to the evaporation of accumulated drops or droplets of immersion medium 110.1 as it has been described above. The hydrophobic third layer of 415.3 may, for example, be formed by a polyimide (PI) material as it has been mentioned above.

[0107] FIG. 7, in a schematic view corresponding to detail D of FIG. 2, shows a thermal shielding 515 of a further embodiment of the microlithography device 101. The shielding 515 may be used instead of the shielding 115 of FIG. 2 or instead of the shielding 415 of FIG. 6.

[0108] As may be seen from FIG. 7, the shielding 515 has a multi-layer design as it has been mentioned above. The shielding 515 includes a combination of a thermally insulating first layer 515.1 located immediately adjacent to the last lens element 109 and a second layer 515.2 located immediately adjacent to the first layer 515.1

[0109] The thermally insulating the first layer 515.1 includes a plurality of spacer elements 515.4 evenly distributed at the circumference of the last lens element 109. The spacer elements 515.4 are of sufficient rigidity to keep their shape under any normal operating conditions of the microlithography device 101. Thus, the spacer elements 515.4, under normal operating conditions, provide a defined distance between the surface of the last lens element 109 and the second layer 515.2.

[0110] The spacer elements 515.4 define an interstice forming the first layer 515.1. The interstice forming the first layer 515.1 is filled with a fluid (such as a gas or a liquid) of low thermal conductivity. Eventually, the interstice 515.1 may be (continuously or intermittently) rinsed with a suitably temperature adjusted fluid to guarantee the desired thermally insulating effect of the first layer 515.1.

[0111] In order to prevent ingress of immersion medium 110.1 into the interstice 515.1 a circumferential sealing element 515.5 is provided between the last lens element 109 and the second layer 515.2. The sealing element 515.5 may be a ring formed by an adhesive which, in addition, provides fixation on the second layer of 515.2 with respect to the last lens element 109.

[0112] The second layer 515.2 again provides a good heat transfer in the radial direction R of the last lens element 109. Thus, thermal disturbances induced by the immersion medium 110.1 are rapidly reduced or even fully compensated by a correspondingly high heat transfer within the second layer 515.2. Consequently, such thermal disturbances, if at all, may propagate only to a reduced extent towards the last lens element 109. In other words, an efficient thermal attenuation effect is achieved. A further reduction of the propagation of such thermal disturbances is provided by the thermally insulating first layer 515.1. In other words, via the shielding 515 forming a thermal decoupling device, the last lens element 109 is effectively thermally decoupled from its environment, in particular from the immersion medium 110.1.

[0113] The rapid heat transfer within the second layer 515.2 is achieved by providing a channel system 515.7 extending in the radial direction R within the second layer 515.2. A stabilizing device in the form of a pumping and temperature adjusting device 515.6 provides a heat carrier medium circulation with a (e.g., continuous) flow 515.8 of a heat carrier medium within the channel system 515.7. The heat carrier medium of the flow 515.8 is adjusted by the stabilizing device 515.6 to have a defined temperature and/or flow rate.

[0114] The flow 515.8 initially runs, in a first channel 515.9 of the second layer 515.2, in the radial direction R towards a redirecting area 515.10 at the inner circumference of the second layer 515.2. At the redirecting area 515.1 the flow 515.8 is redirected in order to flow back, within a second channel 515.11 of the second layer 515.2, towards the outer circumference of the second layer 515.2. Leaving the second channel 515.11 the flow 515.8 returns to the stabilizing device 515.6 where it is again adjusted in temperature and/or flow rate and re-circulated to the heat carrier medium circulation.

[0115] In the most simple case shown in FIG. 7 the channel system 515.9 to 515.11 is formed by a thin hollow body 515.2 and a thin rib 515.12. The rib 515.12 is located within the hollow body 515.2 and extends in the radial direction R and in the circumferential direction of the last lens element 109. The rib 515.12 separates the first channel 515.9 and the second channel 515.11. The second channel 515.11, via which the heat carrier medium is again transported radially outwards towards the stabilizing device 515.6, can be located on the side facing away from the last lens element 109 in order to achieve a rapid removal of thermal disturbances from the area of the last lens element 109. However, it will be appreciated that any other suitable configuration of such a channel system providing such a rapid removal of thermal disturbances may be used.

[0116] Again, a hydrophobic third layer may be provided at the outer surface of the second layer 515.2 in order to reduce the likelihood of the formation of local heat sinks due to the evaporation of accumulated drops or droplets of immersion medium 110.1 as it has been described above.

[0117] As shown in FIG. 7, the stabilizing device 515.6 may be connected to and controlled by the control device 111.1. Thus, it is possible to actively control the thermal attenuation effect on the shielding 515. As a consequence, the shielding 515 then forms an active thermal decoupling device.

[0118] In some embodiments, the stabilizing device 515.6 is controlled in such a manner that a given temperature distribution (e.g., an even temperature) is substantially maintained (throughout the operation of the microlithography device 101) at the surface of the second layer 515.2 (forming a thermal shielding element) facing the last lens element 109. To this end, further temperature sensors 514.2 connected to the control device 111.1 may be provided at this surface. The control device 111.1 may then use the temperature data provided by the temperature sensors 514.2 to control the stabilizing device 515.6 in the manner described above.

[0119] FIG. 8, in a schematic view corresponding to detail D of FIG. 2, shows a thermal shielding 615 of a further embodiment of the microlithography device 101. The shielding 615 may be used instead of the shielding 115 of FIG. 2, instead of the shielding 415 of FIG. 6 or instead of the shielding 515 of FIG. 7.

[0120] As may be seen from FIG. 8, the shielding 615 is formed by a (e.g., continuous) flow 615.13 of a heat carrier medium 615.14 provided within the part 110.4 of the gap between the last lens element 109 and the immersion frame 110.2 that is not filled with the immersion medium 110.1. The flow 615.13 is provided by a stabilizing device in the form of a pumping and temperature adjusting device 615.6 that provides the heat carrier medium with a defined temperature and flow rate.

[0121] The flow 615.13 initially runs in the radial direction R towards a contact zone 615.14. Within this contact zone 615.15 the heat carrier medium 615.14 contacts and eventually mixes with the immersion medium 110.1. In the area of the contact zone 615.5 a channel 615.16 is provided within the immersion frame 110.2. The channel 615.16 opens towards the contact zone 615.5. Via this channel 615.16 the heat carrier medium 615.14 and, eventually, part of the immersion medium 110.1 (eventually mixed with the heat carrier medium 615.14) are drawn off from the gap between the last lens element 109 and the immersion frame 110.2 and re-circulated back to the stabilizing device 615.6.

[0122] In the stabilizing device 615.6, if necessary, the fraction of the immersion medium 110.1 drawn off together with the heat carrier medium 615.14 is separated from the heat carrier medium 615.14. The stabilizing device 615.6 re-adjusts the temperature and flow rate of the heat carrier medium 615.4 and re-circulates to the heat carrier medium circulation.

[0123] The stabilizing device 615.6 also provides the immersion medium 110.1 to the immersion zone 110 at the desired flow rate. It will be appreciated that the flow rate of the immersion medium 110.1 provided to the immersion zone 110 and the flow rate of the heat carrier medium 615.14 provided to the part 110.4 of the gap between the last lens element 109 and the immersion frame 110.2 as well as the flow rate within the channel 615.16 are mutually adapted to each other in order to achieve the configuration as described above (i.e. with the immersion medium 110.1 and the heat carrier medium 615.14 contacting in the contact zone 615.15). Furthermore, these flow rates are mutually to adapted each other in order to avoid undesired pressure fluctuations within the area of the last lens element 109.

[0124] The flow 615.13 provides a good heat transport away from the last lens element 109 in the radial direction R of the last lens element 109. Thus, thermal disturbances induced by the immersion medium 110.1 or the immersion frame 110.2 are rapidly reduced or even fully compensated by a correspondingly high heat transport provided by the flow 615.13. Consequently, such thermal disturbances, if at all, may propagate only to a reduced extent towards the last lens element 109. In other words, an efficient thermal attenuation effect is achieved. A further reduction of the propagation of such thermal disturbances may be provided by a thermally insulating first layer on the last lens element as it is indicated by the dashed contour 615.1 in FIG. 8. In other words, via the shielding 615 forming a thermal decoupling device, the last lens element 109 is effectively thermally decoupled from its environment, in particular from the immersion medium 110.1.

[0125] As shown in FIG. 8, the stabilizing device 615.6 may be connected to and controlled by the control device 111.1. Thus, it is possible to actively control the thermal attenuation effect on the shielding 615.

[0126] The thermal attenuation device 111 further includes a ring shaped second shielding 116 arranged between the holder 117 of the last lens element 109 and the holder of 118 on the penultimate lens element 108 and forming a second passive thermal attenuation component and, thus, a thermal decoupling device.

[0127] The second shielding 116 extends from the connection area of the two holders 117 and 118 (to the housing of the objective 104) up to the section 109.3 on the surface of the last lens element 109 that is optically unused during projecting the projection pattern onto the wafer 105. The second shielding 116 further serves as the carrier for the Peltier elements 114.1.

[0128] The second shielding 116 as shown in FIG. 8 includes a highly thermally conductive material. In the connection area of the two holders 117 and 118 the second shielding 116 is connected to a temperature-stabilized intermediate element 119 which is, via a ring channel 119.1, passed through with a heat carrier medium, e.g. water, that is held at a constant temperature via a heat carrier medium source 119.2.

[0129] Using a constant temperature of the temperature-stabilized intermediate element 119 and the high thermal conductivity of the second shielding 116 an approximately constant temperature results on the side of the second shielding 116 facing towards the holder 117. Accordingly, a thermal shielding of the holder of 117 and of a part of the last lens element 109 from the rest of the objective 104 is achieved such that, here as well, an attenuation of thermal disturbances of the last lens element 109 introduced via this side is achieved.

[0130] it will be appreciated that, in principle, the second shielding 116 again may be designed in any suitable way. In some embodiments, it may also be designed as a simple single-layer or multi-layer thermal insulation similar to the variants of the first shielding described above. However, it may also be a combination of two or more layers comprising at least one highly thermally conductive layer and at least one thermally insulating layer. In particular, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, a correspondingly insulating layer may be formed on the side of the second shielding 116 facing the holder 117.

[0131] FIG. 9 shows a block diagram of an embodiment of the optical imaging method which may be executed with the microlithography device 101.

[0132] First, in a step 120.1 execution of the method starts. In a step 120.2 the components of the microlithography device 101 are mutually positioned with respect to each other such that the configuration described above is achieved.

[0133] In a step 120.3 at least a part of the projection pattern on the mask 103.1 is projected onto the wafer 105.1 in the matter as it has been described above. In the step 120.3, in parallel to this projection, a thermal attenuation of fluctuations in the temperature distribution of the last lens element 109 induced by the environment of the last lens element, in particular by the immersion medium 110.1, is provided via the thermal attenuation device 111 as it has been described above.

[0134] To this end, in a step 120.4, the corresponding temperatures are established via the temperature sensors 112.2, 112.3, 114.2, 114.3 as it has been described above. Furthermore, further parameters such as the actual supply temperature TIF of the immersion medium 110.1, the flow rate of the immersion medium 110.1 and the actual light power of the illumination device 102 are established as it has been described above.

[0135] In a step 120.5 the control device 111 establishes the actual temperature distribution TI within the immersion medium 110.1 in the immersion zone 110 as well as the actual temperature distribution TE of the last lens element 109. This is done using the stored temperature behavior model and using the data established in step 120.3 as it has been described above. Furthermore, the control device 111 establishes the control values C for the separate influencing devices (e.g. temperature adjustment device 112.2, supply device 112.1, second supply device 113.2, Peltier elements 114.1 etc.).

[0136] The temperature behavior model hereby represents the relation between the captured or otherwise established temperatures as well as further parameters (e.g. flow rate of the immersion medium 110.1, light power of the illumination device 102 etc) and the temperature distribution to be expected within the respective object of the temperature behavior model (i.e. the last lens element 109 and the immersion medium 110.1, respectively).

[0137] The respective part of the temperature behavior model may have been established for the respective object of the temperature behavior model (i.e. the last lens element 109 or the immersion medium 110.1) in an empiric manner and/or via simulation calculations. In particular for regularly repeated situations during operation of the microlithography device 101 a sufficiently accurate estimation of the actual temperature distribution TI within the immersion medium 110.1 in the immersion zone 110 as well as of the actual temperature distribution TE within the last lens element 109 May be achieved.

[0138] In a step 120.6, using the established control values C, the control parameters CP are influenced by controlling the respective influencing devices (e.g. temperature adjustment device 112.2, supply device 112.1, second supply device 113.2, Peltier elements 114.1 etc.) via the control device 111.1 in the manner as it has been described above.

[0139] In a step 120.7 it is checked if execution of the method is to be stopped. If this is the case, execution of the method is stopped in a step 120.8. Otherwise it is jumped back to step 120.3.

[0140] In the foregoing, embodiments have been described using an example where a plurality of active thermal attenuation control circuits 112, 113, 114 and passive thermal attenuation components 115, 116 are provided in combination. In some embodiments, the single active thermal attenuation control circuits and passive thermal attenuation components may each be used alone or in an arbitrary combination.

[0141] Furthermore, while in the foregoing examples, a part of the last lens element 109 is immersed in an immersion medium 110.1 during optical imaging, embodiments may also be used in the context of immersion systems wherein an immersion zone at least temporarily filled with an immersion medium (in addition or as an alternative to the immersion zone between the last lens element and the wafer) is located between two optical elements of the optical element group. Such multiple immersion systems or double immersion systems are known for example from WO 2006/080212 A1, WO 2004/019128 A2, WO 2006/051689 A1, WO 2006/126522 A1, WO 2006/121008 A1 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,180,572 B1, the entire disclosure of all of which is included herein by reference.

[0142] FIG. 10, in a view corresponding to the view of FIG. 2, schematically shows such a double immersion system which may be used in the microlithography device 101. Here, the lens element 109 is not located immediately adjacent to the wafer 105.1 but adjacent to a further optical element in the form of a lens element 709 located between the lens element 109 and the wafer 105.1. The immersion zone 110 is located between the lens element 109 and the lens element 709 while a further immersion zone 710 filled with a further immersion medium 710.1 is located between the further lens element 709 and the wafer 105.1.

[0143] The thermal attenuation device 111 is configured in a manner as it has been described above in order to provide thermal attenuation of environment induced thermal disturbances tending to cause thermal disturbances within the temperature distribution of the lens element 109. It will be appreciated that a further thermal attenuation device may be provided to provide thermal attenuation of environment induced, in particular immersion medium induced thermal disturbances tending to cause thermal disturbances within the temperature distribution of the further lens element 709. This further thermal attenuation device may be designed in a manner similar to the thermal attenuation device 111. Furthermore, the thermal attenuation device 111 may also be designed to provide such thermal attenuation for the further lens element 709.

[0144] The immersion medium 110.1 may be identical with or different from the immersion medium 610.1. Any suitable immersion medium may be used. Examples of such immersion media are heavy water or heavy oxygen water such as D.sub.2O, D.sub.2O*, H.sub.2O*, wherein O* may comprise the isotopes O.sup.16, O.sup.17 and O.sup.18. These immersion media may be mixed in an arbitrary ratio in order to achieve a desired refractive index in the respective immersion zone 110 and 710, respectively, and/or in order to achieve a desired relation between the refractive indices of the two immersion media and/or a desired relation between the refractive indices of the optical elements 109, 709 and one or both of the immersion media 110.1, 710.1. Corresponding examples and values of refractive indices for such mixtures are given in US 2006/092533 A1, US 2006/066926 A1 and WO 2005/106589 A1, the entire disclosure of each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

[0145] While examples are described wherein the optical element group is composed of refractive optical elements exclusively, in some embodiments, optical element groups that include, alone or in an arbitrary combination, refractive, reflective or diffractive optical elements can be used, in particular in the case of performing the imaging process at different wavelengths.

[0146] Furthermore, while embodiments have been described in relation to microlithography, other applications (e.g., imaging processes) are also possible. Other embodiments are in the following claims.

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