18 March 2015 Automation for pattern library creation and in-design optimization
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Semiconductor manufacturing technologies are becoming increasingly complex with every passing node. Newer technology nodes are pushing the limits of optical lithography and requiring multiple exposures with exotic material stacks for each critical layer. All of this added complexity usually amounts to further restrictions in what can be designed. Furthermore, the designs must be checked against all these restrictions in verification and sign-off stages. Design rules are intended to capture all the manufacturing limitations such that yield can be maximized for any given design adhering to all the rules. Most manufacturing steps employ some sort of model based simulation which characterizes the behavior of each step. The lithography models play a very big part of the overall yield and design restrictions in patterning. However, lithography models are not practical to run during design creation due to their slow and prohibitive run times. Furthermore, the models are not usually given to foundry customers because of the confidential and sensitive nature of every foundry's processes. The design layout locations where a model flags unacceptable simulated results can be used to define pattern rules which can be shared with customers. With advanced technology nodes we see a large growth of pattern based rules. This is due to the fact that pattern matching is very fast and the rules themselves can be very complex to describe in a standard DRC language. Therefore, the patterns are left as either pattern layout clips or abstracted into pattern-like syntax which a pattern matcher can use directly. The patterns themselves can be multi-layered with "fuzzy" designations such that groups of similar patterns can be found using one description. The pattern matcher is often integrated with a DRC tool such that verification and signoff can be done in one step. The patterns can be layout constructs that are "forbidden", "waived", or simply low-yielding in nature. The patterns can also contain remedies built in so that fixing happens either automatically or in a guided manner. Building a comprehensive library of patterns is a very difficult task especially when a new technology node is being developed or the process keeps changing. The main dilemma is not having enough representative layouts to use for model simulation where pattern locations can be marked and extracted. This paper will present an automatic pattern library creation flow by using a few known yield detractor patterns to systematically expand the pattern library and generate optimized patterns. We will also look at the specific fixing hints in terms of edge movements, additive, or subtractive changes needed during optimization. Optimization will be shown for both the digital physical implementation and custom design methods.
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Rock Deng, Rock Deng, Elain Zou, Elain Zou, Sid Hong, Sid Hong, Jinyan Wang, Jinyan Wang, Yifan Zhang, Yifan Zhang, Jason Sweis, Jason Sweis, Ya-Chieh Lai, Ya-Chieh Lai, Hua Ding, Hua Ding, Jason Huang, Jason Huang, "Automation for pattern library creation and in-design optimization", Proc. SPIE 9427, Design-Process-Technology Co-optimization for Manufacturability IX, 94270R (18 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2087100; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2087100

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