Mask writers’ architectures have evolved through the years in response to ever tightening requirements for better resolution, tighter feature placement, improved CD control, and tolerable write time. The unprecedented extension of optical lithography and the myriad of Resolution Enhancement Techniques have tasked current mask writers with ever increasing shot count and higher dose, and therefore, increasing write time. Once again, we see the need for a transition to a new type of mask writer based on massively parallel architecture. These platforms offer a step function improvement in both dose and the ability to process massive amounts of data. The higher dose and almost unlimited appetite for edge corrections open new windows of opportunity to further push the envelope. These architectures are also naturally capable of producing curvilinear shapes, making the need to approximate a curve with multiple Manhattan shapes unnecessary.
With each new process technology node, chip designs increase in complexity and size, leading to a steady
increase in data volumes. As a result, mask data prep flows require more computing resources to maintain
the desired turn-around time (TAT) at a low cost. The effect is aggravated by the fact that a mask house
operates a variety of equipment for mask writing, inspection and metrology - all of which, until now,
require specific data formatting. An industry initiative sponsored by SEMI® has established new public
formats - OASIS® (P39) for general layouts and OASIS.MASK (P44) for mask manufacturing equipment -
that allow for the smallest possible representation of data for various applications. This paper will review a
mask data preparation process for mask inspection based on the OASIS formats that also reads
OASIS.MASK files directly in real time into the inspection tool. An implementation based on standard
parallelized computer hardware will be described and characterized as demonstrating throughputs required
for the 45nm and 32nm technology nodes. An inspection test case will also be reviewed.