The semiconductor industry has adopted multi-patterning techniques to manage the delay in the extreme ultraviolet lithography technology. During the design process of double-patterning lithography layout masks, two polygons are assigned to different masks if their spacing is less than the minimum printable spacing. With these additional design constraints, it is very difficult to find experienced layout-design engineers who have a good understanding of the circuit to manually optimize the mask layers in order to minimize color-induced circuit variations. In this work, we investigate the impact of double-patterning lithography on analog circuits and provide quantitative analysis for our designers to select the optimal mask to minimize the circuit’s mismatch. To overcome the problem and improve the turn-around time, we proposed our smart “anchoring” placement technique to optimize mask decomposition for analog circuits. We have developed a software prototype that is capable of providing anchoring markers in the layout, allowing industry standard tools to perform automated color decomposition process.
At advanced and mainstream process nodes (e.g., 7nm, 14nm, 22nm, and 55nm process nodes), lithography hotspots can exist in layouts of integrated circuits even if the layouts pass design rule checking (DRC). Existence of lithography hotspots in a layout can cause manufacturability issues, which can result in yield losses of manufactured integrated circuits. In order to detect lithography hotspots existing in physical layouts, pattern matching (PM) algorithms and commercial PM tools have been developed. However, there are still needs to use DRC tools to perform PM operations. In this paper, we propose a PM synthesis methodology, which uses a continuous refinement technique, for the automatic synthesis of a given lithography hotspot pattern into a DRC deck, which consists of layer operation commands, so that an equivalent PM operation can be performed by executing the synthesized deck with the use of a DRC tool. Note that the proposed methodology can deal with not only exact patterns, but also range patterns. Also, lithography hotspot patterns containing multiple layers can be processed. Experimental results show that the proposed methodology can accurately and efficiently detect lithography hotspots in physical layouts.