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Proceedings Paper

Subresolution assist feature tolerences for contact windows using 193-nm lithography
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Paper Abstract

Combining assist features with appropriate off-axis illumination conditions can significantly improve depth of focus and uniformity of critical dimensions of contact windows. It is known that sub-resolution assist features modify the environment of isolated features in a fashion that they appear dense. In recent years the impact of assist features was mostly studied for gate-level lithography. In this paper the placement and dimension control of assist features for contact windows are examined and analyzed using 193 nm lithography in conjunction with a state-of-the-art single layer resist. Our study is primarily done for 160 nm contact windows, and it is based on experimental data obtained from critical dimension measurements with varying focus, exposure dose, and in different environments. Along with optical proximity corrections we use off-axis illumination technique which increases depth of focus of contact windows and improves the overall process latitude. Specifically for this study we have designed a test photomask with different geometries and pattern densities of contact windows with and without assist features to be used at 193 nm wavelength. To study the proximity effects, different sizes of assist features were used as well as the distances of assists from the main feature were varied. The results have shown that while increasing the process latitude for the primary feature using assist slots in combination with off-axis illumination, the resist thickness and contrast are limiting the assist feature dimensions that can be used. Assist features appear to significantly increase critical dimension uniformity of the contact windows when using both conventional and off-axis illumination techniques, and they dramatically increase the common exposure dose latitude for contact windows with densities from near-isolated to dense, decreasing the proximity effects. Assist feature technique combined with quadrupole illumination demonstrates about 0.3 micron improvement in depth of focus for every type contact window pattern used.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 December 1998
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 3546, 18th Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology and Management, (18 December 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.332873
Show Author Affiliations
Armen Kroyan, Rice Univ. and Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs. (United States)
Pat G. Watson, Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs. (United States)
Raymond A. Cirelli, Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs. (United States)
Omkaram Nalamasu, Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs. (United States)
Anthony E. Novembre, Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs. (United States)
Frank K. Tittel, Rice Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3546:
18th Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology and Management
Brian J. Grenon; Frank E. Abboud, Editor(s)

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