As the feature size of LSI shrinks the cost of mask manufacturing and turn-around-time (TAT) continues to increase.
These increases are reaching to points of great concerns. Association of Super-Advanced Electronics Technologies
(ASET) Mask Design, Drawing, and Inspection Technology Research Department (Mask D2I) launched a 4-year
program for reducing mask manufacturing cost and TAT by concurrent optimization of MDP, mask writing, and mask
inspection that involves exploitation of close relationships and synergism among them. The task will be accomplished by
sharing four key avenues: a) common data format, b) clever use of repeating patterns, c) pattern prioritization based on
design intent, and d) parallel processing. Under the concurrent optimization scheme, mask pattern priorities that we call
as Mask Data Rank (MDR) are extracted from the design side, and repeating patterns are extracted from mask pattern
data. These are fed-forward to mask writing and mask inspection sides. In mask writing, MDR is employed to optimize
the writing conditions; and in Character Projection (CP) writing, repeating patterns are utilized for that purpose. In mask
inspection, MDR is used to optimize defect judgment conditions, and repeating patterns are utilized for efficient review.
For mask writing, we are developing a parallel e-beam writing system Multi Column Cell (MCC). Furthermore, we are
developing an integrated diagnostic system for e-beam mask writer, and a technology for defect judgment technology
based on defect printability in mask inspection. In this paper we describe details of our activity, its status, and some