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A novel proximity effect correction algorithm using pattern shape modification and the area density map method for electron-beam projection lithography is proposed. This algorithm enables fast, accurate and self-consistent calculation of modified pattern sizes. The correctable minimum feature sizes for shape modification were investigated from two viewpoints, mask fabrication restriction and dose margin. The correctable minimum sizes are mostly determined by the dose margin requirement in the case of isolated and dense repeated patterns, implying that the tool resolution determines correctable minimum sizes. A special technique is required for isolated space patterns where the backscattering energy cannot be reduced by simple sizing. We have implemented an algorithm in which pattern densities at middle parts of large patterns are reduced by using a lines and spaces (L/S) pattern or mesh patterns for that case. Successful correction results down to 60 nm from the simulation and 100 nm from the experiment have been obtained. © 2001 American Vacuum Society.