The extension of 193nm exposure wavelength to smaller nodes continues the trend of increased data complexity and
subsequently longer mask writing times. We review the data preparation steps post tapeout, how they influence shot
count as the main driver for mask writing time and techniques to reduce that impact. The paper discusses the application
of resolution enhancements and layout simplification techniques; the fracture step and optimization methods; mask
writing and novel ideas for shot count reduction.
The paper will describe and compare the following techniques: optimized fracture, pre-fracture jog alignment,
generalization of shot definition (L-shot), multi-resolution writing, optimized-based fracture, and optimized OPC output.
The comparison of shot count reduction techniques will consider the impact of changes to the current state of the art
using the following criteria: computational effort, CD control on the mask, mask rule compliance for manufacturing and
inspection, and the software and hardware changes required to achieve the mask write time reduction. The paper will
introduce the concepts and present some data preparation results based on process correction and fracturing tools.