Correlation of resist modeling of printed features with lithographic data is a necessary part of developing new lithographic processes. Recently, we have found a case in which the most advanced resist types sometimes show better behavior than expectations from optical simulation in terms of dose latitude, MEEF (mask error enhancement factor), and even CD variation through different pitches. This superior resist performance may allow greater margin for error in each component, such as mask, scanner, and metrology in very low-k1 lithography.
On the other hand, since the resist pattern CD for the most advanced resist is very much different from the prediction of optical simulation, it is a challenge to build OPC models using the exposure result with the resist. In order to solve this issue, we have tried to use several litho parameters to reduce the gap between optical simulation and resist CDs for OPC modeling. In this paper we discuss the effect of the parameters to reduce the gap between optical model and actual resist behavior with keeping superior performance as much as possible. The method we mention may be a key to use the most advanced resist in near future. As a result the life of ArF immersion lithography in the critical layer would be extended than we expect today.