In previous work, it was determined that the pattern shift based solution increases the chance that a defective mask blank can be used that would otherwise be discarded . In pattern shift, design data is shifted such that defects are either moved to isolated regions or hidden under the patterns that are written. However pattern shifts techniques don’t perform well with masks with higher defect counts. Pattern shift techniques in this form assume all defects to be equally critical. In addition, a defect is critical or important only if it lands on the main pattern. A defect landing on fill, sub-resolution assist feature (SRAF) or fiducial areas may not be critical. In this paper we assess the performance of pattern shift techniques assuming defects that are not critical based upon size or type, as well as defects landing in non-critical areas (smart shift) can be ignored.
In a production mask manufacturing environment it is necessary to co-optimize and prioritize blank-design pairing for multiple mask layouts in the queue with the available blanks. A blank-design pairing tool maximizes the utilization of blanks by finding the best pairing between blanks and design data so that the maximum number of mask blanks can be used. In this paper we also propose a novel process which would optimize the usage of costly EUV mask blanks across mask blank manufacturers and mask shops which write masks.