IEEE Trans Semicond Manuf

Level-specific lithography optimization for 1-Gb DRAM

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A general level-specific lithography optimization methodology is applied to the critical levels of a 1-Gb DRAM design at 175- and 150-nm ground rules. This three-step methodology - ruling out inapplicable approaches by physical principles, selecting promising techniques by simulation, and determining actual process window by experimentation - is based on process latitude quantification using the total window metric. The optimal lithography strategy is pattern specific, depending on the illumination configuration, pattern shape and size, mask technology, mask tone, and photoresist characteristics. These large numbers of lithography possibilities are efficiently evaluated by an accurate photoresist development bias model. Resolution enhancement techniques such as phase-shifting masks, annular illumination and optical proximity correction are essential in enlarging the inadequate process latitude of conventional lithography.