A wafer's printed CD error can be impacted by unaccounted mask making process variation. Unaccounted mask CD
and/or corner rounding alters the intended drawn mask pattern contributing to a wafer's printed CD error. During OPC
wafer calibration, average mask bias and corner rounding are accounted for in the OPC model, but random local mask
making process variations or mask-to-mask variations can be difficult to account in such model calibration. Thus when
a wafer's CD has error, it can be difficult to determine if the general root cause was due to mask or wafer or both. An
in-line monitoring application has been developed to extract accurate mask CD and rendered mask polygon from
collected mask CD-SEM images. Technical information will be presented on the challenges of accurately extracting
information from SEM images. In particular, discussions include SEM image calibration, contour extraction, inverse
pattern rendering, and general image processing to account for mask SEM aberrations (translation, rotation, & dilation),
tool-to-tool variation, vendor-to-vendor variation, run-to-run variation, and dark/bright field pattern-to-pattern variation.
After accurate mask SEM contours are obtained, lithographic simulations are performed on extracted polygon contours
to determine the impact of mask variation on wafer CD. This paper will present detail information about the Inverse
Pattern Rendering (IPR) capabilities developed for a virtual Wafer CD (WCD) application and its results, which is
proven to achieved 0.5 nm accuracy across multiple critical layers from 28 nm to 40 nm nodes on multiple CD-SEM
tools over multiple mask shop locations.