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Detailed Placement for Enhanced Control of Resist and Etch CDs

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3 Author(s)
Puneet Gupta ; California Univ., San Diego ; Andrew B. Kahng ; Chul-Hong Park

Subresolution assist feature (SRAF) and etch-dummy-insertion techniques have been absolutely essential for process-window enhancement and CD control in photo and etch processes. However, as focus levels change during lithography manufacturing, CDs at a given ldquolegalrdquo pitch can fail to achieve manufacturing tolerances. Placed standard-cell layouts may not have the ideal whitespace distribution to allow for an optimal assist-feature insertion. This paper first describes a novel dynamic-programming-based technique for Assist-Feature Correctness (AFCorr) in detailed placement of standard-cell designs. At the same time, etch-dummy features are used in the mask data preparation flow to reduce CD skew between resist and etch processes and to improve the printability of layouts. However, etch-dummy rules conflict with the SRAF insertion because each of the two techniques requires specific design rules. We further present a novel SRAF-aware etch-dummy-insertion method (SAEDM) which optimizes the etch-dummy insertion to make the layout more conducive to the assist-feature insertion after the etch-dummy features have been inserted. Since placement of cells can create forbidden-pitch violations of resist process and can increase etch skew, the placer must also generate etch-dummy-correct placement. This can be solved by Etch-dummy Correctness (EtchCorr), which is an intelligent whitespace management for etch-dummy-corrected placement, an extension of the AFCorr methodology. These methods for enhanced resist and etch CD controls are validated on industrial test cases with respect to wafer printability, database complexity, and device performance. For benchmark designs, we validate the four methodologies: 1) AFCorr; 2) SAEDM; 3) AFCorr SAEDM; and 4) AFCorr EtchCorr SAEDM. The AFCorr placement perturbation achieves a significant reduction in forbidden pitches between polysilicon shapes. Using 1) flow, forbidden-pitch count of photo process is reduced by 76%-100% for 130 nm - - and by 87%-100% for 90 nm. Our novel Corr design-perturbation technique, which combines the AFCorr and EtchCorr methods, facilitates additional SRAF and etch-dummy insertions and, thus, reduces the CD skew between the photo and etch processes. After Corr with SAEDM, edge-placement-error count is also reduced by 91%-100% in the resist CD and by 72%-98% in the etch CD. Our methods provide a substantial improvement in CD control with negligible timing, area, and CPU overhead. The advantages of such correctness methods are expected to increase in future technology nodes.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 12 )