To maximize the process window and CD control of main features, sizing and placement rules for sub-resolution assist
features (SRAF) need to be optimized, subject to the constraint that the SRAFs not print through the process window.
With continuously shrinking target dimensions, generation of traditional rule-based SRAFs is becoming an expensive
process in terms of time, cost and complexity. This has created an interest in other rule optimization methodologies, such
as image contrast and other edge- and image-based objective functions.
In this paper, we propose using an automated model-based flow to obtain the optimal SRAF insertion rules for a design
and reduce the time and effort required to define the best rules. In this automated flow, SRAF placement is optimized by
iteratively generating the space-width rules and assessing their performance against process variability metrics. Multiple
metrics are used in the flow. Process variability (PV) band thickness is a good indicator of the process window
enhancement. Depth of focus (DOF), the total range of focus that can be tolerated, is also a highly descriptive metric for
the effectiveness of the sizing and placement rules generated. Finally, scatter bar (SB) printing margin calculations
assess the allowed exposure range that prevents scatter bars from printing on the wafer.