Abstract

To keep pace with the shrinkage of critical dimension, source and mask optimization (SMO) has emerged as a promising resolution enhancement technique to push the resolution of 193 nm argon fluoride immersion lithography systems. However, most current pixelated SMO approaches relied on scalar imaging models that are no longer accurate for immersion lithography systems with hyper-NA (NA>1). This paper develops a robust hybrid SMO (HSMO) algorithm based on a vector imaging model capable of effectively improving the robustness of immersion lithography systems to defocus and dose variations. The proposed HSMO algorithm includes two steps. First, the individual source optimization approach is carried out to rapidly reduce the cost function. Subsequently, the simultaneous SMO approach is applied to further improve the process robustness by exploiting the synergy in the joint optimization of source and mask patterns. The conjugate gradient method is used to update the source and mask pixels. In addition, a source regularization approach and source postprocessing are both used to improve the manufacturability of the optimized source patterns. Compared to the mask optimization method, the HSMO algorithm achieves larger process windows, i.e., extends the depth of focus and exposure latitude, thus more effectively improving the process robustness of 45 nm immersion lithography systems.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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