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Pattern data conversion for lithography system

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000189289D
Publication Date: 2009-Nov-03
Document File: 51 page(s) / 2M

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method and system for exposing a target according to pattern data in a maskless lithography machine generating a plurality of exposure beamlets for exposing the target. The method comprises providing input pattern data in a vector format, rendering and quantizing the input pattern data to generate intermediate pattern data, and re-sampling and re-quantizing the intermediate pattern data to generate output pattern data. The output pattern data is supplied to the lithography machine, and the beamlets generated by the lithography machine are modulated on the basis of the output pattern data.

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pattern data conversion for Lithography SYstem

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

[0001]            The present invention relates to a maskless lithography apparatus, and in particular to a system and method for converting vector format pattern data for use by a lithography apparatus.

2. Description of the Related Art

[0002]            A maskless lithography machine generates optical or particle beamlets for exposing a target. The machine requires pattern data for modulating the beamlets as they are scanned over the surface of the target. When exposing a target at very high resolution, a very large amount of pattern data is required to enable the scanning process.

[0003]            The pattern data is usually initially generated in a vector format, such as a GDS-II or OASIS format, and is then usually converted into a bitmap format for modulating the beamlets. In the conversion from the vector format to a bitmap, it is advantageous to store the data in an intermediate data format to permit some processing to be performed in advance of exposing the wafer while not requiring a large storage capacity to store the voluminous fully converted pattern data. A vector format may be used as the intermediate vector format. A vector format permits complex manipulations to be performed on the pattern data, such as performing various types of corrections which may involve pattern shifting or scaling in two dimensions and involving multiple pixel or sub-pixel shifts.

[0004]            However, a vector format has the disadvantage it is non-deterministic, so the amount of memory required to store the data is a function of the pattern data, and the actual memory requirement to store the pattern data cannot be determined in advance. This is a significant drawback in view of the very large size of the pattern data.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005]            The invention includes a method for exposing a target according to pattern data in a maskless lithography machine generating a plurality of exposure beamlets for exposing the target. The method comprises providing input pattern data in a vector format, rendering and quantizing the input pattern data to generate intermediate pattern data, and re-sampling and re-quantizing the intermediate pattern data to generate output pattern data. The output pattern data is supplied to the lithography machine, and the beamlets generated by the lithography machine are modulated on the basis of the output pattern data. The vector format input pattern data is converted into output pattern data in the form of a spatially mapped array of pixel values. The output pattern data may comprise bi-level pattern data, and may comprise B/W bitmap data. The intermediate pattern data may comprise multi-level bitmap data. The intermediate pattern data representing a certain portion of a pattern preferably comprises a greater amount of...