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Wafer Topography-Aware Optical Proximity Correction

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5 Author(s)

Depth of focus is the major contributor to lithographic process margin. One of the major causes of focus variation is imperfect planarization of fabrication layers. Presently, optical proximity correction (OPC) methods are oblivious to the predictable nature of focus variation arising from wafer topography. As a result, designers suffer from manufacturing yield loss as well as loss of design quality through unnecessary guardbanding. In this paper, the authors propose a novel flow and method to drive OPC with a topography map of the layout that is generated by chemical-mechanical polishing simulation. The wafer topography variations result in local defocus, which the authors explicitly model in the OPC insertion and verification flows. In addition, a novel topography-aware optical rule check to validate the quality of result of OPC for a given topography is presented. The experimental validation in this paper uses simulation-based experiments with 90-nm foundry libraries and industry-strength OPC and scattering bar recipes. It is found that the proposed topography-aware OPC (TOPC) can yield up to 67% reduction in edge placement errors. TOPC achieves up to 72% reduction in worst case printability with little increase in data volume and OPC runtime. The electrical impact of the proposed TOPC method is investigated. The results show that TOPC can significantly reduce timing uncertainty in addition to process variation

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IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 12 )