Shifting pattern data to avoid mask blank defects
Original Publication Date: 2001-Nov-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Nov-20
Obtaining defect free mask blanks will be a significant challenge as lithographic feature size continues to be reduced. To enable the use of mask blanks that are not defect free but have a reasonably small number of defects, the pattern on the mask can be moved so that the mask blank defects do not affect the printed pattern. With the known defect locations from a mask-blank defect inspection report, the pattern data can be positioned to make the defects non-printable or suitable for easy repair after mask patterning. The pattern data can be translated, rotated, or perhaps even magnified slightly to avoid known defects. Critical areas of the mask pattern can be identified to determine how to change the pattern to more efficiently avoid the effects of mask blank defects. With this approach, the effective yield of mask blank fabrication will be increased and the cost of mask production will be reduced.