In this paper, we will present a machine learning solution targeted for memory customers including both assist feature and main feature mask synthesis. In a previous paper, we demonstrated machine learning ILT solutions for the creation of assist features using a neural network. In this paper, we extend the solution to include main features masks, which we can create using machine learning models which take into account the full ILT corrected masks during training. In practice, while the correction of main features is often visually more intuitive, there are underlying edge to edge and polygon to polygon interactions that are not easily captured by local influence edge perturbations found in typical OPC solvers but can be captured by ILT and machine learning solutions trained on ILT masks.
Since its introduction at Luminescent Technologies and continued development at Synopsys, Inverse Lithography Technology (ILT) has delivered industry leading quality of results (QOR) for mask synthesis designs. With the advent of powerful, widely deployed, and user-friendly machine learning (ML) training techniques, we are now able to exploit the quality of ILT masks in a ML framework which has significant runtime benefits. In this paper we will describe our MLILT flow including training data selection and preparation, network architectures, training techniques, and analysis tools. Typically, ILT usage has been limited to smaller areas owing to concerns like runtime, solution consistency, and mask shape complexity. We will exhibit how machine learning can be used to overcome these challenges, thereby providing a pathway to extend ILT solution to full chip logic design. We will demonstrate the clear superiority of ML-ILT QOR over existing mask synthesis techniques, such as rule based placements, that have similar runtime performance.
Memory cells and access structures consume a large percentage of area in embedded devices so there is a high return from shrinking the cell area as much as possible. This aggressive scaling leads to very difficult resolution, 2D CD control and process window requirements. As the scaling drives lithography even deeper into the low-k1 regime, cooptimization of design layout, mask, and lithography is critical to deliver a production-worthy patterning solution. Computational lithography like Inverse Lithography Technology (ILT) has demonstrated it is an enabling technology to derive improved solutions over traditional OPC as reported in multiple prior publications. In this paper, we will present results of a study on advanced memory cell design optimization with Cell-Level ILT (CL-ILT) where significant design hierarchy can be retained during ILT optimization. Large numbers of cell design variations are explored with automatically generated patterns from ProteusTM Test Pattern Generator (TPG). Fully automated flows from pattern generation to mask synthesis with ILT, data analysis and results visualization are built on ProteusTM Work Flow (PWF) for exploring a fully parameterized design space of interest. Mask complexity including assist features (AF) types, rule or model based, and main feature segmentation are also studied to understand the impact on wafer lithographic performance. A heatmap view of results generated from this design exploration provides a clear and intuitive way to identify maximum design limits of memory cells. Comparison of results from ILT and traditional OPC will be presented as well with both wafer and simulation data.
The difficulties involved in ramping EUV lithography to volume manufacturing have highlighted the critical task of understanding process, layout design and device interactions, and also of optimizing the overall product integration to reduce undesirable interactions. In this paper, we demonstrate mask synthesis methods that using rigorous EUV lithography models together with inverse lithography technology (ILT) for EUV process window and CD control improvement. To enable this new capability, we have linked the broad EUV physical effect modeling capability of our rigorous lithography simulator, Sentaurus Lithography (S-Litho), with our highly flexible production proven ILT mask synthesis solution (Proteus ILT). This new combined capability can take advantage of the wide range of EUV modeling capabilities including rigorous electromagnetic mask/substrate modeling. The advantages of using S-Litho rigorous simulation for ILT optimization is further benefited from significant speed enhancements using new high performance EUV mask 3D capabilities. ILT has been extensively used in a range of lithographic areas for DUV and EUV including logic hot-spot fixing, memory layout correction, dense memory cell optimization, assist feature (AF) optimization, source optimization, complex patterning design rules and design-technology co-optimization (DTCO). The combined optimization capability of these two technologies therefore will have a wide range of useful EUV applications. We will highlight the specific benefits of the rigorous DUV and EUV ILT functionality for several advanced applications including resist profile optimization for resist top- oss and resist descumming and process window improvement.
Despite the large difficulties involved in extending 193i multiple patterning and the slow ramp of EUV lithography to full manufacturing readiness, the pace of development for new technology node variations has been accelerating. Multiple new variations of new and existing technology nodes have been introduced for a range of device applications; each variation with at least a few new process integration methods, layout constructs and/or design rules. This had led to a strong increase in the demand for predictive technology tools which can be used to quickly guide important patterning and design co-optimization decisions.
In this paper, we introduce a novel hybrid predictive patterning method combining two patterning technologies which have each individually been widely used for process tuning, mask correction and process-design cooptimization. These technologies are rigorous lithography simulation and inverse lithography technology (ILT). Rigorous lithography simulation has been extensively used for process development/tuning, lithography tool user setup, photoresist hot-spot detection, photoresist-etch interaction analysis, lithography-TCAD interactions/sensitivities, source optimization and basic lithography design rule exploration. ILT has been extensively used in a range of lithographic areas including logic hot-spot fixing, memory layout correction, dense memory cell optimization, assist feature (AF) optimization, source optimization, complex patterning design rules and design-technology co-optimization (DTCO). The combined optimization capability of these two technologies will therefore have a wide range of useful applications. We investigate the benefits of the new functionality for a few of these advanced applications including correction for photoresist top loss and resist scumming hotspots.