Pixel-based optical proximity correction (PBOPC) methods have been developed as a leading-edge resolution enhancement technique (RET) for integrated circuit fabrication. PBOPC independently modulates each pixel on the reticle, which tremendously increases the mask’s complexity and, at the same time, deteriorates its manufacturability. Most current PBOPC algorithms recur to regularization methods or a mask manufacturing rule check (MRC) to improve the mask manufacturability. Typically, these approaches either fail to satisfy manufacturing constraints on the practical product line, or lead to suboptimal mask patterns that may degrade the lithographic performance. This paper develops a block-based optical proximity correction (BBOPC) algorithm to pursue the optimal masks with manufacturability compliance, where the mask is shaped by a set of overlapped basis blocks rather than pixels. BBOPC optimization is formulated based on a vector imaging model, which is adequate for both dry lithography with lower numerical aperture (NA), and immersion lithography with hyper-NA. The BBOPC algorithm successively optimizes the main features (MF) and subresolution assist features (SRAF) based on a modified conjugate gradient method. It is effective at smoothing any unmanufacturable jogs along edges. A weight matrix is introduced in the cost function to preserve the edge fidelity of the printed images. Simulations show that the BBOPC algorithm can improve lithographic imaging performance while maintaining mask manufacturing constraints.
© 2013 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 3, 2013
Revised Manuscript: March 13, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: April 4, 2013
Published: May 8, 2013
Xu Ma, Zhiyang Song, Yanqiu Li, and Gonzalo R. Arce, "Block-based mask optimization for optical lithography," Appl. Opt. 52, 3351-3363 (2013)