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Browse Prior Art Database

The Neolithography Consortium

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000125639D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jun-09
Document File: 8 page(s) / 69K

Publishing Venue

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Related People

James Potzick: INVENTOR

Abstract

The role of process simulation in microlithography is becoming an increasingly important part of process control as wafer feature sizes become smaller than the exposure wavelength, because the pattern transfer from photomask to wafer is nonlinear. An important factor hindering the increased use of simulation applications, however, is their inclination to be standalone applications not easily integrated into the overall process. These observations have led to the concept of The Neolithography Consortium. Neolithography is a realization and acceptance that the pattern on the photomask is not replicated exactly on the wafer because of diffraction effects, subresolution mask features and imperfections, and other effects. It is characterized by the full integration of process simulation and metrology into the IC microlithography process, leading to a comprehensive and logical approach to photomask design and wafer exposure. All of the relevant optical projection, resist exposure and development, and etch parameters, and resolution enhancement techniques, are optimized and incorporated into the photomask design before the first wafer is printed. The Neolithography Consortium is being formed for the purpose of accelerating the adoption of neolithography, by identifying impediments to the integration of simulation and metrology tools into the microlithography process and finding solutions to remove these impediments. It is comprised of companies who create or use commercial IC microlithography simulation software, or who supply metrology or production tools which will interface with simulation software. Any company or organization with a legitimate interest is welcome to join.

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The Neolithography Consortium

         James Potzick National Institute of Standards and Technology Gaithersburg, Md. 20899

The role of process simulation in microlithography is becoming an increasingly important part of process control as wafer feature sizes become smaller than the exposure wavelength, because the pattern transfer from photomask to wafer is nonlinear. An important factor hindering the increased use of simulation applications, however, is their in- clination to be standalone applications not easily integrated into the overall process.

These observations have led to the concept of The Neolithography Consortium.

Neolithography is a realization and acceptance that the pattern on the photomask is not replicated exactly on the wafer because of diffraction effects, subresolution mask features and imperfections, and other effects. It is characterized by the full integration of process simulation and metrology into the IC microlithography process, leading to a compre- hensive and logical approach to photomask design and wafer exposure. All of the relevant optical projection, resist exposure and development, and etch parameters, and resolution enhancement techniques, are optimized and incorpo- rated into the photomask design before the first wafer is printed.

The Neolithography Consortium is being formed for the purpose of accelerating the adoption of neolithography, by identifying impediments to the integration of simulation and metrology tools into the microlithography process and finding solutions to remove these impediments. It is comprised of companies who create or use commercial IC microlithography simulation software, or who supply metrology or production tools which will interface with simu- lation software. Any company or organization with a legitimate interest is welcome to join.

KEY WORDS: microlithography, micropatterning, process control, process optimization, simulation, neolithogra- phy, photomask, metrology

The role of process simulation in microlithog- raphy is becoming increasingly important (and ultimately indispensable1) as wafer feature sizes become smaller than the exposure wavelength, be- cause the pattern transfer from photomask to wafer is nonlinear. The effectiveness of optical proxim- ity correction (OPC) and the emerging importance of the mask error enhancement factor (MEEF) at- test to this.

This observation has led to the concept of neolithography:2

Neolithography n 1: a realistic photolithographic process in which the pattern on the photomask is not replicated exactly because of diffraction effects, subresolution mask features and imperfections, and other effects. 2: the de- sign and control of such a process.

It is characterized by the full integration of process simulation and metrology into the IC microlithog- raphy process, leading to a comprehensive and

logical approach to photomask design and wafer exposure. All of the relevant optical projection, resist exposure and development, and etch param...