Compensation of Long-Range Process Effects on Photomasks by Design Data Correction

CD requirements for advanced photomasks are getting very demanding for the 100nm-node and below; the ITRS roadmap requires CD uniformities below 10nm for the most critical layers. To reach this goal, statistical as well as systematic CD contributions must be minimized. Here, we focus on the reduction of systematic CD variations across the masks that may be caused by process effects, e.g. dry etch loading. We address this topic by compensating such effects via design data correction analogous to proximity correction. Dry etch loading is modeled by gaussian convolution of pattern densities.

Data correction is done geometrically by edge shifting. As the effect amplitude has an order of magnitude of 10nm this can only be done on e-beam writers with small address grids to reduce big CD steps in the design data. We present modeling and correction results for special mask patterns with very strong pattern density variations showing that the compensation method is able to reduce CD uniformity by 50 - 70%, depending on pattern details. The data correction itself is done with a new module developed especially to compensate long-range effects and fits nicely into the common data flow environment.

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