Even in a 1D design style, single exposure of the 16 nm half-pitch M2 layer is very challenging for EUV lithography, because of its tight tip-to-tip configurations. Therefore, the industry is considering the hybrid use of ArFi-based SAQP combined with EUV Block as an alternative to EUV single exposure. As a consequence, the EUV Block layer may be one of the first layers to adopt EUV lithography in HVM.
In this paper, we report on the imec iN7 SAQP + Block litho performance and process integration, targeting the M2 patterning for a 7.5 track logic design. The Block layer is exposed on an ASML NXE:3300 EUV-scanner at imec, using optimized illumination conditions and state-of-the-art metal-containing negative tone resist (Inpria). Subsequently, the SAQP and block structures are characterized in a morphological study, assessing pattern fidelity and CD/EPE variability. The work is an experimental feasibility study of EUV insertion, for SAQP + Block M2 patterning on an industry-relevant N5 use-case.