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Proceedings Paper

Software-based data path for raster-scanned multi-beam mask lithography
Author(s): Archana Rajagopalan; Ankita Agarwal; Peter Buck; Paul Geller; H. Christopher Hamaker; Nagswara Rao
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Paper Abstract

According to the 2013 SEMATECH Mask Industry Survey,i roughly half of all photomasks are produced using laser mask pattern generator (“LMPG”) lithography. LMPG lithography can be used for all layers at mature technology nodes, and for many non-critical and semi-critical masks at advanced nodes. The extensive use of multi-patterning at the 14-nm node significantly increases the number of critical mask layers, and the transition in wafer lithography from positive tone resist to negative tone resist at the 14-nm design node enables the switch from advanced binary masks back to attenuated phase shifting masks that require second level writes to remove unwanted chrome. LMPG lithography is typically used for second level writes due to its high productivity, absence of charging effects, and versatile non-actinic alignment capability. As multi-patterning use expands from double to triple patterning and beyond, the number of LMPG second level writes increases correspondingly. The desire to reserve the limited capacity of advanced electron beam writers for use when essential is another factor driving the demand for LMPG capacity. The increasing demand for cost-effective productivity has kept most of the laser mask writers ever manufactured running in production, sometimes long past their projected lifespan, and new writers continue to be built based on hardware developed some years ago.ii The data path is a case in point. While state-ofthe- art when first introduced, hardware-based data path systems are difficult to modify or add new features to meet the changing requirements of the market. As data volumes increase, design styles change, and new uses are found for laser writers, it is useful to consider a replacement for this critical subsystem. The availability of low-cost, high-performance, distributed computer systems combined with highly scalable EDA software lends itself well to creating an advanced data path system. EDA software, in routine production today, scales well to hundreds or even thousands of CPU-cores, offering the potential for virtually unlimited capacity. Features available in EDA software such as sizing, scaling, tone reversal, OPC, MPC, rasterization, and others are easily adapted to the requirements of a data path system. This paper presents the motivation, requirements, design and performance of an advanced, scalable software data path system suitable to support multi-beam laser mask lithography.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 October 2016
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9985, Photomask Technology 2016, 998519 (25 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2243035
Show Author Affiliations
Archana Rajagopalan, Mentor Graphics (India) Pvt. Ltd. (India)
Ankita Agarwal, Mentor Graphics (India) Pvt. Ltd. (India)
Peter Buck, Mentor Graphics Corp. (United States)
Paul Geller, Applied Materials, Inc. (United States)
H. Christopher Hamaker, Applied Materials, Inc. (United States)
Nagswara Rao, Mentor Graphics (India) Pvt. Ltd. (India)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9985:
Photomask Technology 2016
Bryan S. Kasprowicz; Peter D. Buck, Editor(s)

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