The CNTech Advanced Lithography Toolset uses a beam propagation method to calculate the intensity profile as it propagates through the mask and into the photoresist. One can construct the membrane, absorber, gap, and resist, each as a series of n-slices to achieve unusually precise calculations. Here a clear X-ray phase mask is modeled with silicon nitride in a configuration called a Bright Peak Enhanced X-ray Phase Mask (BPEXPM).
For the optimized structure of this mask, which relies on both diffraction and phase shifting to produce the reduced wafer image, four factors must be controlled; these are: absorber thickness - material and wavelength dependent, absorber wall slope, gap, and resist threshold. A central composite experimental design showed that a 100 nm mask would print a wafer at 35 nm CD using the 70% maximum intensity threshold when the wall slope was 0.5° from the vertical. Additionally: 1) a 100 nm increase in absorber thickness decreased the CD by 1.0 nm; 2) every 1.0 um increase in gap decreased the CD 0.8 nm; and 3) every 1.0 nm increase in mask CD increased the linewidth only 0.1 nm. Other mask processing materials were examined in addition to the 180° (π) phase-shift absorber thickness. Experimental verifications of the modeling results are in progress to demonstrate device construction for devices with lower wafer coverage than would be required for memory devices.