Conventional site-base model calibration approaches have worked fine from the 180nm down to the 65nm technology nodes, but with the first 45nm technology nodes rapidly approaching, site-based model calibration techniques may not capture the details contained in these 2D-intensive designs. Due to the compaction of designs, we have slowly progressed from 1D-intensive gates, which were site-based friendly, to very complex and sometimes ornate 2D-gate regions. To compound the problem, these 2D-intensive gate regions are difficult to measure resulting in metrology-induced error when attempting to add these regions to the model calibration data. To achieve the sub-nanometer model accuracy required at this node, a model calibration technique must be able to capture the curvature induced by the process and the design in these gate regions. A new approach in model calibration had been developed in which images from a scanning electron microscope (SEM) are used together with the conventional site-base to calibrate models instead of the traditional single critical dimension (CD) approach. The advantage with the SEM-image model calibration technique is that every pixel in the SEM image contributes as CD information improving model robustness. Now the ornate gate regions could be utilized as calibration features allowing the acquisition of fine curvature in the design.
This paper documents the issues of the site-base model calibration technique at the 45nm technology node and beyond. It also demonstrates the improvement in model accuracy for critical gate regions over the traditional modeling technique, and it shows the best know methods to achieve the utmost accuracy. Lastly, this paper shows how SEM-based modeling quantifies modeling error in these complex 2D regions.