Spectrophotometry has been applied to the characterization of pattered mask line-width. Variations in the line-width by few nanometers can be distinguished by comparing spectrum profiles of reflectance or transmittance in spectrophotometry. It can be theoretically explained that the variations in the spectrum profiles are caused by CD bias of the patterned film. Experimental results also show that the positions of the spectrums along wavelength axis are related to the CD bias measured under CD-SEM. As a result, both spectra could be used to estimate quickly the line-width of patterned mask without in-depth analysis.
As the critical dimension (CD) becomes smaller, various resolution enhancement techniques (RET) are widely adopted. In developing sub-100nm devices, the complexity of optical proximity correction (OPC) is severely increased and applied OPC layers are expanded to non-critical layers. The transformation of designed pattern data by OPC operation causes complexity, which cause runtime overheads to following steps such as mask data preparation (MDP), and collapse of existing design hierarchy. Therefore, many mask shops exploit the distributed computing method in order to reduce the runtime of mask data preparation rather than exploit the design hierarchy. Distributed computing uses a cluster of computers that are connected to local network system. However, there are two things to limit the benefit of the distributing computing method in MDP. First, every sequential MDP job, which uses maximum number of available CPUs, is not efficient compared to parallel MDP job execution due to the input data characteristics. Second, the runtime enhancement over input cost is not sufficient enough since the scalability of fracturing tools is limited. In this paper, we will discuss optimum load balancing environment that is useful in increasing the uptime of distributed computing system by assigning appropriate number of CPUs for each input design data. We will also describe the distributed processing (DP) parameter optimization to obtain maximum throughput in MDP job processing.
Defect-free mask is a dream of mask makers. Repair technology  that removes defects on Att. PSM is getting more attentions than ever. Therefore the fast and precise verification of repaired results is highly required. Most confirmation methods are carried out by using the inspection system because it is faster than AIMS to verify the repaired results. However, the accuracy of the verification using the inspection system cannot be compared to it with AIMS in the view of printability. In this paper, the results of optical simulation using top-down repair image are compared with those of AIMS for rapid confirmation of repaired results with competitive accuracy. Also, neural network which can compute the complex non-linear relationships easily are used to increase the accuracy of repair simulation.
An analytical approach to X-phenomenon in alternating phase-shifting masks is given in the framework of the thin-mask approximation. We present an analytical expression for the focus-dependent intensity imbalance between 0° and 180° phase regions when there exists relative phase error. It is shown that X-phenomenon results from the interference between 0th diffracted order, which originates from the phase error and has an in- or out-of-phase component with respect to the ±1st diffracted orders depending on the defocus directions, and the ±1st diffracted orders. Dependences of the intensity imbalance on the phase error and the duty ratio of the structure are given.
As the feature size of integrated circuits shrinks, the demands for the critical dimension (CD) uniformity on wafers are becoming tighter. In the era of low k1, moreover, mask CD uniformity should be controlled even more stringently due to the higher mask error enhancement factor (MEEF). Mask CD non-uniformity can originate from several sources which include photomask blanks and mask-making processes (exposure, post-exposure bake (PEB), development, and etch processes). Analyzing the CD error sources and eliminating the origins are very important tasks in optimization of mask-manufacturing processes. In this paper, we focus on the side error in mask CD uniformity and present a simple method for separating and evaluating the origins. Especially, quantitative analysis of the side errors induced by photomask blanks and mask-making processes, respectively, is given. Photomask blanks are found to be one of the main sources of the side error and it is shown that the temperature distribution of the PEB process during the ramp-up as well as the stable period should be maintained uniformly for chemically amplified resist (CAR) blanks in order to reduce the process-induced side error.
To achieve higher resolution and critical dimension (CD) accuracy in mask fabrication, 50KeV E-beam systems are used widely. However, as a high acceleration system is adapted, the degree of fogging effect caused by multi-scattering electrons becomes more serious. Although considerable efforts have been made, fogging effect cannot be removed perfectly, therefore several compensation techniques are applied instead. Fogging effect not only deteriorates CD uniformity but also makes mean to target (MTT) control difficult. Moreover, Fogging effect causes proximity effect correction (PEC) error according to PEC methods such as dose modulation type usually used in variable shaped beam (VSB) system and GHOST type commonly used in Gaussian beam system. In this paper, we investigated the fogging effect under the various exposure conditions at raster scan Gaussian beam system and VSB system experimentally and analytically.
Recently, the interest in enhancement of critical dimension (CD) accuracy has been significantly increased to satisfy requirements of sub 100nm devices. Proximity effect correction becomes an indispensable choice to improve CD accuracy within local area, and fogging and loading effects compensation has been tried to enhance global CD uniformity. However, proximity effect correction (PEC) parameters obtained without considering additional exposure such as fogging effect and the exposure to compensate it are not appropriate to fabricate real devices. In this paper, we investigated the relation of PEC parameters and various pattern densities and additional exposure experientially, analyzed theoretically using the edge image model to describe absorbed energy. Through evaluations, we could optimize proximity effect correction parameters for EBM-3500 taking additional exposure into account, and realize higher CD accuracy in mask fabrication.
In mask-making process with e-beam lithography, the process stabilization can be evaluated by looking at the fluctuation of critical dimension (CD) uniformity, mean to target(MTT), and defect controllability. Among them, the capability of CD uniformity and mean to target depends strongly on the acceleration voltage of an exposure machine. Generally, a high acceleration voltage has advantages on dose latitude, pattern fidelity and CD linearity due to its small forward scattering range. Therefore, those merits using a high acceleration voltage can provide a higher yield for production photomask. In this paper, we have examined the CD uniformity and the MTT capability for production photomask fabrication in order to compare the process stabilization between 50 keV and 10 keV. By choosing a 50 keV exposure, significant improvements can be made in CD uniformity and MTT capability.