In this paper, we present the challenges of the realization of a large 45nm modern Media Processing SoC with multiple
design teams distributed across many countries and time zones. We also describe the complex design methodology
deployed to ensure the design is "closable" in the timing and manufacturability domain.
Silicon variability impacts both the physical integrity and the parametric performance of the design. Lithography and
CMP can cause enough context-dependent systematic variations, requiring exhaustive lithography and CMP physical
verification and optimization of the layout.
We present the physical and electrical DFM methodology at NXP. We will show how NXP has developed a
manufacturing-aware design flow based on early prevention, detection and fixing using a hierarchical approach for
model-based lithography checks and model-based CMP checks, from IP level to full-chip. We also present results of
variability-aware timing sign-off.
The perpetual shrinking in critical dimensions in semiconductor devices is driving the need for increased resolution in optical lithography. Increasing NA to gain resolution also increases Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) model complexity. Some optical effects which have been completely neglected in OPC modeling become important. Over the past few years, off-axis illumination has been widely used to improve the imaging process. OPC models which utilize such illumination still use the thin film mask approximation (Kirchhoff approach), during optical model generation, which utilizes a normal incidence. However, simulating a three dimensional mask near-field using an off-axis illumination requires OPC models to introduce oblique incidence. In addition, the use of higher NA systems introduces high obliquity field components that can no longer be assimilated as normal incident waves. The introduction of oblique incidence requires other effects, such as corner rounding of mask features, to be considered, that are seldom taken into account in OPC modeling. In this paper, the effects of oblique incidence and corner rounding of mask features on resist contours of 2D structures (i.e. line-ends and corners) are studied. Rigorous electromagnetic simulations are performed to investigate the scattering properties of various lithographic 32nm node mask structures. Simulations are conducted using a three dimensional phase shift mask topology and an off-axis illumination at high NA. Aerial images are calculated and compared with those obtained from a classical normal incidence illumination. The benefits of using an oblique incidence to improve hot-spot prediction will be discussed.
Patterning isolated trenches for bright field layers such as the active layer has always been difficult for lithographers.
This patterning is even more challenging for advanced technologies such as the 45-nm node where most of the process
optimization is done for minimum pitch dense lines.
Similar to the use of scattering-bars to assist isolated lines structures, we can use inverse Sub Resolution Assist Features
(SRAF) to assist the patterning of isolated trenches structures.
Full characterization studies on the C45 Active layer demonstrate the benefits and potential issues of this technique: Screen Inverse SRAF parameters (size, distance to main feature) utilizing optical simulation; Verify simulation predictions and ensure sufficient improvement in Depth of Focus and Exposure latitude with
silicon process window analysis; Define Inverse SRAF OPC generation script parameters and validate, with accurate on silicon, measurement
characterization of specific test patterns; Maskshop manufacturability through CD measurements and inspection capability.
Finally, initial silicon results from a 45nm mask are given with suggestions for additional optimization of inverse SRAF
Several qualification stages are required for new maskshop tools, first step is done by the maskshop internally. Taking
a new writer for example, the maskshop will review the basic factory and site acceptance tests, including CD
uniformity, CD linearity, local CD errors and registration errors. The second step is to have dedicated OPC (Optical
Proximity Correction) structures from the wafer fab. These dedicated OPC structures will be measured by the
maskshop to get a reticle CD metrology trend line.
With this trend line, we can:
- ensure the stability at reticle level of the maskshop processes
- put in place a matching procedure to guarantee the same OPC signature at reticle level in case of any
internal maskshop process change or new maskshop evaluation. Changes that require qualification could
be process changes for capacity reasons, like introducing a new writer or a new manufacturing line, or for
capability reasons, like a new process (new developer tool for example) introduction.
Most advanced levels will have dedicated OPC structures. Also dedicated maskshop processes will be monitored with
these specific OPC structures.
In this paper, we will follow in detail the different reticle CD measurements of dedicated OPC structures for the three
advanced logic levels of the 65nm node: poly level, contact level and metal level. The related maskshop's processes are
- for poly: eaPSM 193nm with a nega CAR (Chemically Amplified Resist) process for Clear Field L/S
(Lines & Space) reticles
- for contact: eaPSM 193nm with a posi CAR process for Dark Field Holes reticles
- for metal1: eaPSM 193nm with a posi CAR process for Dark Field L/S reticles.
For all these structures, CD linearity, CD through pitch, length effects, and pattern density effects will be monitored.
To average the metrology errors, the structures are placed twice on the reticle.
The first part of this paper will describe the different OPC structures. These OPC structures are close to the DRM
(Design Rule Manual) of the dedicated levels to be monitored.
The second part of the paper will describe the matching procedure to ensure the same OPC signature at reticle level.
We will give an example of an internal maskshop matching exercise, which could be needed when we switched from
an already qualified 50 KeV tool to a new 50 KeV tool.
The second example is the same matching exercise of our 65nm OPC structures, but with two different maskshops.
The last part of the paper will show first results on dedicated OPC structures for the 45nm node.
Resolution Enhancement Techniques (RET) are inherently design dependent technologies. To be successful the RET strategy needs to be adapted to the type of circuit desired. For SOC (system on chip), the three main patterning constraints come from:
-Static RAM with very aggressive design rules specially at active, poly and contact
-transistor variability control at the chip level
The development of regular layouts, within the framework of DFM, enables the use of more aggressive RET, pushing the required k1 factor further than allowed with existing RET techniques and the current wavelength and NA limitations. Besides that, it is shown that the primary appeal of regular design usage comes from the significant decrease in transistor variability. In 45nm technology a more than 80% variability reduction for the width and the length of the transistor at best conditions, and more than 50% variability reduction though the process window has been demonstrated. In addition, line-end control in the SRAM bitcell becomes a key challenge for the 32nm node. Taking all these constraints into account, we present the existing best patterning strategy for active and poly level of 32nm :
-dipole with polarization and regular layout for active level
-dipole with polarization, regular layout and double patterning to cut the line-end for poly level.
These choices have been made based on the printing performances of a 0.17&mgr;m<sup>2</sup> SRAM bitcell and a 32nm flip-flop with NA 1.2 immersion scanner.
As semiconductor technology moves toward and beyond the 65 nm lithography node, the importance of Optical
Proximity Correction (OPC) models grows due to the lithographer's need to ensure high fidelity in the mask-
to-silicon transfer. This, in turn, causes OPC model complexity to increase as NA increases and minimum
feature size on the mask decreases. Subtle effects, that were considered insignificant, can no longer be ignored.
Depending on the imaging system, three dimensional mask effects need to be included in OPC modeling. These
effects can be used to improve model accuracy and to better predict the final process window. In this paper,
the effects of 3D mask topology on process window are studied using several 45 nm node mask structure types.
Simulations are conducted with and without a polarized illumination source. The benefits of using an advanced model algorithm, that comprehends 3D mask effects, will be discussed. To quantify the potential impact of this methodology, relative to current best known practices, all results are compared to those obtained from a model using a conventional thin film mask.
The quality of model-based OPC correction depends strongly on how the model is calibrated in order to generate a resist image as close to the desired shapes as possible. As the k1 process factor decreases and design complexity increases, the correction accuracy and the model stability become more important. It is also assumed that the stability of one model can be tested when its response to a small variation in one or several parameters is small. In order to quantify this, the small-variation method has been tested on a variable threshold based model initially optimized for the 65nm node using measurements done with a test pattern mask. This method consists of introducing small variations to one input model parameter and analyzing the induced effects on the simulated edge placement error (EPE). In this paper, we study the impact of small changes in the optical and resist parameters (focus settings, inner and outer partial coherent factors, NA, resist thickness) on the model stability. And then, we quantify the sensitivity of the model towards each parameter shift. We also study the effects of modeling parameters (kernel count, model fitness, optical diameter) on the resulting simulated EPE. This kind of study allows us to detect coverage or process window problems. The process and modeling parameters have been modified one by one. The ranges of variations correspond to those observed during a typical experiment. Then the difference in simulated EPE between the reference model and the modified one has been calculated. Simulations show that the loss in model accuracy is essentially caused by changes in focus, outer sigma and NA and lower values of optical diameter and kernel count. Model results agree well with a production layout.
The continued downscaling of the feature sizes and pitches for each new process generation increases the challenges for obtaining sufficient process control. As the dimensions approach the limits of the lithographic capabilities, new solutions for improving the printability are required. Including the design into the optimization process significantly improves the printability. The use of litho-driven designs becomes increasingly important towards the 45 nm node. The litho-driven design is applied to the active, gate, contact and metal layers. It has been shown previously, that the impact on the chip area is negligible. Simulations have indicated a significant improvement in controlling the critical dimensions of the gate layer. In this paper, we present our first results of an experimental validation of litho-driven designs printed on an immersion scanner. In our design we use a fixed pitch approach that allows to match the illumination conditions to those for the memory structures. The impact on the chip area and on the CD control will be discussed. The resulting improvement in CD control is demonstrated experimentally by comparing the experimental results of litho-driven and standard designs. A comparison with simulations will be presented.
We have processed a 22 mm x 4.5 mm design for Complementary Dipole Exposure (CDE), with pitches down to 150 nm. The design included SRAM active, poly, and random logic poly structures. A model-assisted decomposition technique was used to determine which feature element should be incorporated into which mask layer to provide optimal printability. The entire design was treated using a single script. The resulting mask layers were corrected for proximity effects, and placed on a binary mask. Mask CD-SEM measurements showed that both narrow lines and small gaps were generated with excellent accuracy. Double exposures were done on an ASML PAS 5500/1100 0.75 NA ArF scanner. The densest pitch present on the design was 150 nm, corresponding to a k1 of 0.29 for a 0.75 NA ArF scanner. Apart from dense pitches, the design also had challenging structures with target CD’s down to 70 nm and gaps as small as 80 nm. SEM measurements of the exposed wafer were used to verify the patterning fidelity of typical active and poly SRAM geometries, and random logic poly structures. We conclude by showing the first imaging data obtained with CDE, using polarized light on a 0.93 NA ASML TWINSCAN XT:1400 step & scan system.
The shrinking of the dimensions for each new process generation increases the challenges for lithography significantly. In order to guarantee manufacturability for future process generations, a strong interaction between lithography and design is required. A quantitative measure for the manufacturability is of key importance for driving the improvements in the design for manufacturing process. Aerial image slopes or contrasts in simulated images provide a measure for the sensitivity to process variations, but do not take the statistical process variation into account. This may result in sub-optimal choices in the design for manufacturing process.
This paper discusses the process capability analysis and provides an optimal design with corresponding imaging conditions, taking the statistical fluctuations of exposure dose and focus into account.
The mean CD value and the CD spread are calculated as a function of the amount of variation in the process variables like focus and exposure dose. Comparing these distribution parameters to the
process specifications yields the so-called process capability index as a quantitative measure for the manufacturability. Another advantage is the possibility to include the effect of mask errors on the manufacturability. Until now, however, this method had only been demonstrated for line space features. In this paper we extend the process capability analysis method for calculating the
manufacturability of arbitrary layouts. The analysis is demonstrated in an evaluation of the manufacturability of various gate layer designs, both conventional as well as litho-driven re-designs.