Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

Optimum mask and source patterns to print a given shape

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New degrees of freedom can be optimized in mask shapes when the source is also adjustable, because required image symmetries can be provided by the source rather than the collected wavefront. The optimized mask will often consist of novel sets of shapes that are quite different in layout from the target IC patterns. This implies that the optimization algorithm should have good global convergence properties, since the target patterns may not be a suitable starting solution. We have developed an algorithm that can optimize mask and source without using a starting design. Examples are shown where the process window obtained is between 2 and 6 times larger than that achieved with standard RET methods. The optimized masks require phase shift, but no trim mask is used. Thus far we have only optimized 2D patterns over small fields (periodicities of ∼1μm or less). We also discuss mask optimization with fixed source, source optimization with fixed mask, and the re-targeting of designs in different mask regions to provide a common exposure level. © 2001 SPIE · 0277-786X/01/$15.00.