There have been many pronouncements about the slowing down of Moore's Law. Human enterprise, however, has managed to disprove these dim prophecies by producing ingenious solutions on a regular basis, to allow Moore's Law to continue its unabated march. The goal of this paper is to suggest that the innovation pipeline is rich enough to maintain this trend for the foreseeable future.
One such innovation, involving pixelated masks, was announced by Intel in June 2007. This technology was created to address the problem caused by the growing gap between the lithography wavelength and the feature sizes patterned with it. As this gap has increased, the quality of the image has deteriorated. About a decade ago, Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) was introduced to bridge this gap, but as this gap continued to increase, one could not rely on the same basic set of techniques to maintain image quality. The computational lithography group at Intel sought to alleviate this problem by experimenting with additional degrees of freedom within the mask. This paper describes the resulting pixelated mask technology.