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PROCESS AWARE OPC FOR OPTIMIZED MULTI PATTERNING SOLUTION

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000241795D
Publication Date: 2015-Jun-01
Document File: 5 page(s) / 81K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

We recommend a new flow in the Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) process for multiple patterning processes. In the new flow, the OPC is aware of the overall process and accordingly aligns the recipe to get best result for patterns that remain on wafer. Utilizing information from the overall process allows more flexibility in the tradeoffs that can be made for each of the individual patterning steps.

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PROCESS AWARE OPC FOR OPTIMIZED MULTI PATTERNING SOLUTION

The process of semiconductor chip manufacturing involves various patterning steps and masks. In current, state-of-the-art Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) flows, masks for each patterning step are processed individually in an attempt to reproduce pre-defined target shapes on the wafer.

Tradeoffs between mask layers are not allowed and there is no mechanism to facilitate such a tradeoff. However, if these individual processes could be made aware of each other, tradeoffs between mask layers could be made, resulting in a more robust process. This article explains one such approach.

In the traditional OPC flow, a target layer is created for each mask that will be used in the patterning process. The goal of the OPC is to allow those target shapes to be faithfully reproduced on the wafer when the mask is exposed. This decoupling of mask layers leads to a simplified optimization problem that has served the industry well. However, as multi-patterning processes have flourished, ignoring the basic interactions between patterning layers has resulted in sub-optimal solutions for any one mask in an attempt to reproduce target regions that have essentially no meaning. Often, these regions are simply removed by a subsequent patterning step.

Here, we propose that information about all patterning steps in the multi-patterning process be conveyed to the OPC flow and that this information be included in the tradeoffs that are made during the optimization of each mask layer. For example, consider a double patterning process as shown in Figure 1, where the final spacing be...