Contact- and proximity lithography in a Mask Aligner is a very cost effective technique for photolithography, as it
provides a high throughput and very stable mature processes for critical dimensions of typically some microns. For
shadow lithography, the printing quality depends much on the proximity gap and the properties of the illumination light.
SUSS MicroOptics has recently introduced a novel illumination optics, referred as MO Exposure Optics, for all SUSS
MicroTec Mask Aligners. MO Exposure Optics provides excellent uniformity of the illumination light, telecentric
illumination and a full freedom to shape the angular spectrum of the mask illuminating light. This allows to simulate and
optimize photolithography processes in a Mask Aligner from the light source to the final pattern in photoresist. The
commercially available software LayoutLab (GenISys) allows to optimize Mask Aligner Lithography beyond its current
limits, by both shaping the illumination light (Customized Illumination) and optimizing the photomask pattern (Optical
Proximity Correction, OPC). Dr.LiTHO, a second simulation tool developed by Fraunhofer IISB fro Front-End
Lithography, includes rigorous models and algorithms for the simulation, evaluation and optimization of lithographic
processes. A new exposure module in the Dr.LiTHO software now allows a more flexible definition of illumination geometries coupled to the standard resist modules for proximity lithography in a Mask Aligner. Results from simulation and experiment will be presented.