Dimensional scaling trends will eventually bring semiconductor critical dimensions (CDs) down to only a few atoms in width. New optical techniques are required to address the measurement and variability for these CDs using sufficiently small in-die metrology targets. Recently, Qin et al. [Light Sci Appl, 5, e16038 (2016)] demonstrated quantitative modelbased measurements of finite sets of lines with features as small as 16 nm using 450 nm wavelength light. This paper uses simulation studies, augmented with experiments at 193 nm wavelength, to adapt and optimize the finite sets of features that work as in-die-capable metrology targets with minimal increases in parametric uncertainty. A finite element based solver for time-harmonic Maxwell’s equations yields two- and three-dimensional simulations of the electromagnetic scattering for optimizing the design of such targets as functions of reduced line lengths, fewer number of lines, fewer focal positions, smaller critical dimensions, and shorter illumination wavelength. Metrology targets that exceeded performance requirements are as short as 3 μm for 193 nm light, feature as few as eight lines, and are extensible to sub-10 nm CDs. Target areas measured at 193 nm can be fifteen times smaller in area than current state-of-the-art scatterometry targets described in the literature. This new methodology is demonstrated to be a promising alternative for optical model-based in-die CD metrology.