An Integrated Phase-shifting Software Solution for IC Design to Manufacturing

Lithography has been the technological driver for shrinking circuits and creating finer and finer transistor gates. As silicon feature sizes continue to decrease below the wavelength of available exposure tools, reticle-based resolution enhancement techniques including optical proximity correction (OPC) and phase-shifting mask (PSM) are required for patterning features that are significantly smaller than wavelength. Infrastructure, such as software tools and mask making capability, has to be developed in order to use such technologies in production. The double-exposure darkfield alternating PSM (DDAP) technique has been approved as the first production worthy strong phase shifting technology that addresses the important issues related to design, mask manufacturing and wafer production. We will first discuss the concept and the significance of DDAP, then introduce iN-Phase, the first commercial electronic design automation tool that has integrated phase shifter placement with OPC and verification to provide a complete solution for PSM design. The software architecture, performance and application will also be discussed.

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