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In optical microlithography, the illumination source for critical complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor layers needs to be determined in the early stage of a technology node with very limited design information, leading to simple binary shapes. Recently, the availability of freeform sources permits us to increase pattern fidelity and relax mask complexities with minimal insertion risks to the current manufacturing flow. However, source optimization across many patterns is often treated as a design-of-experiments problem, which may not fully exploit the benefits of a freeform source. In this paper, a rigorous source-optimization algorithm is presented via linear superposition of optimal sources for pre-selected patterns. We show that analytical solutions are made possible by using Hopkins formulation and quadratic programming. The algorithm allows synthesized illumination to be linked with assorted pattern libraries, which has a direct impact on design rule studies for early planning and design automation for full wafer optimization.
Date of Publication: July 2013