17 October 2008 Technology interactions on reticle delivery
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Reticle cost and cycle time to deliver new circuit designs to a wafer fab remain key focus areas for advanced semiconductor manufacturing and new product development. Resolution enhancement techniques like optical proximity correction as applied to critical layers have increased the burden on mask data preparation and reticle writing steps of the mask making flow. The growing data volume and complexity of designs must be reduced to a perfect image on a reticle in the shortest time possible against computer and machine constraints. Continued dependence on 193 nm wavelength exposure in extremely low k1 lithography exacerbates the underlying trends. Two important factors come together to drive the economics and performance of the reticle line: the complexity of the designs and the productivity of e-beam writing tools. The designs, OPC methods, and writing tool capabilities continue to evolve with each node of technology. The study builds on prior evaluations to look at fundamental pattern complexity across 90nm, 65nm, and 45nm logic designs using the gate and metal-1 critical layers. The writing tool throughput testing uses a range of standard patterns to establish shot limited performance as a calibration method for arbitrary designs. Node to node design and tool to tool generation comparisons highlight actual step changes in complexity and capability by introducing new quantitative methods, benchmarking metrics, and testing strategies. The findings are projected into the future using design complexity and writing tool trends to suggest implications about reticle cost, cycle time, or possible gaps in technology development.
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Paul Ackmann, Paul Ackmann, Scott Goad, Scott Goad, Craig West, Craig West, "Technology interactions on reticle delivery", Proc. SPIE 7122, Photomask Technology 2008, 712234 (17 October 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.801239; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.801239

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