Chromeless Phase Lithography (CPL) is discussed as interesting option for the 65nm node and beyond offering high resolution and small Mask Error Enhancement Factor. However, it was shown recently that at high NA CPL masks can exhibit large polarization and also phase effects. A well known phase effect occurring for CPL semi dense lines are through focus Bossung tilts.
However, another manifestation of phase effects for dense lines and spaces is a reduced contrast for a symmetrical off-axis illumination due to phase errors between 0th and 1st diffraction order. In this paper it is shown that these phase effects can lead to a significant contrast loss for dense features smaller than 60nm half pitch. While also present for trench structures, the contrast reduction is more pronounced for mesa style structures. It is shown that for mesa structures an adjustment of etch depth can not recover an effective pi-phase shift. Furthermore, significant polarization effects are observed. As an example, the optimum mesa structure for TE polarization is shifted to small lines.
For an experimental validation, a CPL mask containing dense lines and spaces was fabricated. Their imaging performance was characterized with an AIMS 45i offering NA's greater than 1 and linearly polarized illumination as well as by wafer printing. Gratings with pitches down to 100 nm with varying duty cycles were measured with TE, TM and unpolarized dipole illumination. Very good agreement between measurement and simulation results confirmed the validity of theoretical predictions.
As the lithographic projection technology of the future will require higher numerical aperture (NA) values, new physical effects will have to be taken into consideration. Immersion lithography will result in NA values of up to 1.2 and above. New optical effects like 3D shadowing, effects from oblique incident angles, mask-induced polarization of the transmitted light and birefringence from the substrate should be considered when the masks optical performance is evaluated. This paper addresses mask induced polarization effects from dense lines-and-space structures of standard production masks. On a binary and on an attenuated phase-shifting mask, which were manufactured at the Advanced Mask Technology Center (AMTC) transmission experimental investigations were performed. Measurements of diffraction efficiencies for TE- and TM-polarized light using three different incident angles are presented for all considered mask types and compared to simulations. The structures under investigation include line-space-pattern with varying pitches as well as varying duty cycles. Experimental results show good agreement with simulations.
Various methods of printing small contact holes are discussed. Although the resolution capability is one key object for printing small contacts, it does not always reflect the process window. This paper compares resolution as well as process windows for several contact printing techniques. It shows the huge benefit of ring-type contacts with respect to process window even when compared to Bessel like contacts.
This paper focuses on a novel methodology for a fast and efficient resist model calibration. One of the most crucial parts when calibrating a resist model is the fitting of experimental data where up to 20 resist model parameters are varied. Although general optimization approaches such as simplex algorithms or genetic algorithms have proven suitable for many applications, they do not exploit specific properties of resist models. Therefore, we have developed a new strategy based on Design of Experiment methods which makes use of these specific characteristics. This algorithm will be outlined and then be demonstrated by applying it to the calibration of a Solid-C resist model for one ArF line/space resist. As characterizing dataset we chose: a) a Focus Exposure Matrix (FEM) for the dense array, b) linearity, c) OPE (optical proximity) curve and e) the MEEF (mask error enhancement factor) for a dense array. It turned out that a simultaneous fit of the complete data set was not possible by varying resist parameters only. Considering the optical parameters appeared to be crucial as well. Therefore the influence of the optical settings (illumination, projection, 3D mask effects) on the lithography process will be discussed at this point. Finally we obtained an excellent matching of model predictions and experimental results.
In times of continuing aggressive shrinking of chip layouts a thorough understanding of the pattern transfer process from layout to silicon is indispensable. We analyzed the most prominent effects limiting the control of this process for a contact layer like process, printing 140nm features of variable length and different proximity using 248nm lithography. Deviations of the photo mask from the ideal layout, in particular mask off-target and corner rounding have been identified as clearly contributing to the printing behavior. In the next step, these deviations from ideal behavior have been incorporated into the optical proximity correction (OPC) modeling process. The degree of accuracy for describing experimental data by simulation, using an OPC model modified in that manner could be increased significantly. Further improvement in modeling the optical imaging process could be accomplished by taking into account lens aberrations of the exposure tool. This suggests a high potential to improve OPC by considering the effects mentioned, delivering a significant contribution to extending the application of OPC techniques beyond current limits.