Patent Number: 8,878,119

Title: Optical inspection method and optical inspection apparatus

Abstract: In the conventional contaminant particle/defect inspection method, if the illuminance of the illumination beam is held at not more than a predetermined upper limit value not to give thermal damage to the sample, the detection sensitivity and the inspection speed being in the tradeoff relation with each other, it is very difficult to improve one of the detection sensitivity and the inspection speed without sacrificing the other or improve both at the same time. The invention provides an improved optical inspection method and an improved optical inspection apparatus, in which a pulse laser is used as a light source, and a laser beam flux is split into a plurality of laser beam fluxes which are given different time delay to form a plurality of illumination spots. The scattered light signal from each illumination spot is isolated and detected by using a light emission start timing signal for each illumination spot.

Inventors: Matsui; Shigeru (Hitachinaka, JP)

Assignee: Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation

International Classification: H03K 17/78 (20060101)

Expiration Date: 2019-11-04 0:00:00