In deep ultraviolet lithography simulations, conventional application of Kirchhoff's boundary conditions on the mask surface provides the so-called "thin-mask" approximation of the object field. Current subwavelength lithographic operation, however, places a serious limitation on this approximation, which fails to account for the topographical, or "thick-mask," effects. In this paper, a new simulation model is proposed that is theoretically founded on the well-established physical theory of diffraction. This model relies on the key result that diffraction effects can be interpreted as an intrinsic edge property, and modeled with just two fixed parameters: width and transmission coefficient of a locally determined boundary layer applied to each chrome edge. The proposed model accurately accounts for thick-mask effects of the fields on the mask, greatly improving the accuracy of aerial image simulations in photolithography, while maintaining a reasonable computational cost.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 19, 2005
Revised Manuscript: July 16, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: August 24, 2005
Jaione Tirapu-Azpiroz and Eli Yablonovitch, "Incorporating mask topography edge diffraction in photolithography simulations," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 23, 821-828 (2006)