18 March 2015 Low-contrast photoresist development model for OPC application at 10nm node
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The Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) model, a key to process yield in the mask synthesis flow, is getting more and more complicated and challenging at advanced technology nodes (1X nm). To achieve accurate critical dimension (CD) prediction and model robustness on varied designed patterns, a rigorously tuned compact model (RTCM) [1] that takes the photoresist chemical effects into considerations is strongly desired. A lithography process consists of three main stages: Exposure, Post-Exposure Bake (PEB), and Photoresist Development. Each stage is characterized by its fundamental physics or chemistry that governs the process of illumination induced photo-acid generation, thermally activated chemical reaction-diffusion, and developer dependent photoresist dissolution, respectively. The final resist profile is determined by the process details of all these stages directly or indirectly. For an ideal resist that the development contrast approaches infinity, resist development is aptly represented by a threshold model applied to the PEB latent image (acid or inhibitor concentration). So the quality of OPC modeling is largely determined by the fidelity of PEB latent image [2,3]. However, for some types of resist and developer used in Negative Tone Development (NTD), the development contrast shows a long tail without a sharp transition. For such low-contrast resist, the developed resist profile is no longer described well by the equilevel surface of PEB latent image. Going beyond the threshold approximation, we start from the fundamental equations of resist development physics and analyze the time evolution of development front that determines the resist profile. In this paper, a new compact model is derived to catch the main physics in resist Development, which is also simple and computationally efficient to suit for OPC applications. Comparison with S-LITHO rigorous solutions and real-wafer experiments with 1D and 2D test patterns have showed that the new compact model, with fewer free parameters, provides better CD prediction than the existing empirical lumped parameter models for low-contrast resists. The new physical compact model offers a more accurate and extendable solution for OPC modeling at the 10nm node and onward.
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Cheng-En Wu, Cheng-En Wu, David Wei, David Wei, Charlie Zhang, Charlie Zhang, Hua Song, Hua Song, "Low-contrast photoresist development model for OPC application at 10nm node", Proc. SPIE 9426, Optical Microlithography XXVIII, 94260N (18 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2086044; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2086044

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