For IC design starts below the 20nm technology node, the assist features on photomasks shrink well below 60nm and the printed patterns of those features on masks written by VSB eBeam writers start to show a large deviation from the mask designs. Traditional geometry-based fracturing starts to show large errors for those small features. As a result, other mask data preparation (MDP) methods have become available and adopted, such as rule-based Mask Process Correction (MPC), model-based MPC and eventually model-based MDP.
The new MDP methods may place shot edges slightly differently from target to compensate for mask process effects, so that the final patterns on a mask are much closer to the design (which can be viewed as the ideal mask), especially for those assist features. Such an alteration generally produces better masks that are closer to the intended mask design. Traditional XOR-based MDP verification cannot detect problems caused by eBeam effects. Much like model-based OPC verification which became a necessity for OPC a decade ago, we see the same trend in MDP today.
Simulation-based MDP verification solution requires a GPU-accelerated computational geometry engine with simulation capabilities. To have a meaningful simulation-based mask check, a good mask process model is needed. The TrueModel® system is a field tested physical mask model developed by D2S. The GPU-accelerated D2S Computational Design Platform (CDP) is used to run simulation-based mask check, as well as model-based MDP. In addition to simulation-based checks such as mask EPE or dose margin, geometry-based rules are also available to detect quality issues such as slivers or CD splits. Dose margin related hotspots can also be detected by setting a correct detection threshold.
In this paper, we will demonstrate GPU-acceleration for geometry processing, and give examples of mask check results and performance data. GPU-acceleration is necessary to make simulation-based mask MDP verification acceptable.
Inverse Lithography Technology (ILT) is becoming the choice for Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) of advanced technology nodes in IC design and production. Multi-beam mask writers promise significant mask writing time reduction for complex ILT style masks. Before multi-beam mask writers become the main stream working tools in mask production, VSB writers will continue to be the tool of choice to write both curvilinear ILT and Manhattanized ILT masks. To enable VSB mask writers for complex ILT style masks, model-based mask process correction (MB-MPC) is required to do the following: 1). Make reasonable corrections for complex edges for those features that exhibit relatively large deviations from both curvilinear ILT and Manhattanized ILT designs. 2). Control and manage both Edge Placement Errors (EPE) and shot count. 3. Assist in easing the migration to future multi-beam mask writer and serve as an effective backup solution during the transition. In this paper, a solution meeting all those requirements, MB-MPC with GPU acceleration, will be presented. One model calibration per process allows accurate correction regardless of the target mask writer.