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Proceedings Paper

Embedded optical proximity correction for the Sigma7500 DUV mask writer
Author(s): Anders Österberg; Lars Ivansen; Henrik Åhlfeldt; Hans Fosshaug; Tom Newman; Amanda Bowhill; Emile Sahouria; Steffen Schulze
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Paper Abstract

Optical proximity correction (OPC) is widely used in wafer lithography to produce a printed image that best matches the design intent while optimizing CD control. OPC software applies corrections to the mask pattern data, but in general it does not directly compensate for the mask writer and mask process characteristics. The Sigma7500 deep-ultraviolet (DUV) mask writer projects the image of a programmable spatial light modulator (SLM) onto the mask using partially coherent optics similar to wafer steppers, and the residual optical proximity effects of the mask writer are in principle correctable with established OPC methods. To enhance mask patterning, an embedded OPC function called LinearityEqualizerTM has been developed for the Sigma7500 that is transparent to the user and which does not degrade mask throughput. It employs the Mentor Graphics Calibre OPC engine, selected for the computational speed necessary for mask run-time execution. A multi-node cluster computer applies optimized table-based CD corrections to polygonized pattern data, which is then refractured into a standard writer format for subsequent data processing. This short-range proximity correction works in conjunction with ProcessEqualizerTM, a previously developed print-time function that reduces long-range process-related CD errors. OPC flattens the linearity behavior for all linewidths and pitches, which should improve the total CD uniformity on production photomasks. Along with better resolution of assist features, this further extends the application space of DUV mask writing. Testing shows up to a 4x reduction in the range of systematic CD deviations for a broad array of feature sizes and pitches, and dark assist features are reliably printed down to 120 nm at mask scale.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 May 2007
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 6607, Photomask and Next-Generation Lithography Mask Technology XIV, 660704 (11 May 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.728918
Show Author Affiliations
Anders Österberg, Micronic Laser Systems AB (Sweden)
Lars Ivansen, Micronic Laser Systems AB (Sweden)
Henrik Åhlfeldt, Micronic Laser Systems AB (Sweden)
Hans Fosshaug, Micronic Laser Systems AB (Sweden)
Tom Newman, Micronic Laser Systems AB (Sweden)
Amanda Bowhill, Mentor Graphics Corp. (United States)
Emile Sahouria, Mentor Graphics Corp. (United States)
Steffen Schulze, Mentor Graphics Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6607:
Photomask and Next-Generation Lithography Mask Technology XIV
Hidehiro Watanabe, Editor(s)

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