SPIE Advanced Lithography 2011
Conference paper

Integrated model-based retargeting and optical proximity correction

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Conventional resolution enhancement techniques (RET) are becoming increasingly inadequate at addressing the challenges of subwavelength lithography. In particular, features show high sensitivity to process variation in low-k1 lithography. Process variation aware RETs such as process-window OPC are becoming increasingly important to guarantee high lithographic yield, but such techniques suffer fro m high runtime impact. An alternative to PWOPC is to perform retargeting, which is a rule-assisted modification of target layout shapes to improve their process window. However, rule-based retargeting is not a scalable technique since rules cannot cover the entire search space of two-dimensional shape configurations, especially with technology scaling. In this paper, we propose to integrate the processes of retargeting and optical proximity correction (OPC). We utilize the normalized image log slope (NILS) metric, which is available at no extra computational cost during OPC. We use NILS to guide dynamic target modification between iterations of OPC. We utilize the NILS tagging capabilities of Calibre TCL scripting to identify fragments with low NILS. We then perform NILS binning to assign different magnitude of retargeting to different NILS bins. NILS is determined both for width, to identify regions of pinching, and space, to locate regions of potential bridging. We develop an integrated flow for 1× metal lines (M1) which exhibits lesser lithographic hotspots compared to a flow with just OPC and no retargeting. We also observe cases where hotspots that existed in the rule-based retargeting flow are fixed using our methodology. We finally also demonstrate that such a retargeting methodology does not significantly alter design properties by electrically simulating a latch layout before and after retargeting. We observe less than 1% impact on latch Clk-Q and D-Q delays post-retargeting, which makes this methodology an attractive one for use in improving shape process windows without perturbing designed values. © 2011 SPIE.