introduced the latest version of its industry-leading computational lithography
tool, PROLITH(TM) 11. The new tool enables users for the first time to evaluate
current double-patterning schemes and cost-effectively explore alternate solutions
to lithography challenges in design, materials and process development. This
new computational lithography tool also supports single-pass patterning and
"The emergence of double-patterning lithography has challenged circuit
designers and chipmakers because of the dramatic increase in lithography complexity
and experimental costs," noted Ed Charrier, vice president and general
manager of KLA-Tencor's Process Control Information Division. "Computational
lithography has become an essential tool for controlling these costs. Among
computational lithography tools, PROLITH 11 has the unique ability to allow
engineers to explore wide ranges of design, material or process conditions in
order to solve a particular problem -- without having to spend the resources
of a fab."
Double-patterning lithography (DPL) is a method for constructing the small
features of advanced devices by dividing the pattern into two interleaved patterns.
This means that a double mask set and new photoresist materials are required
for DPL layers, amplifying process complexity and cost. With experts predicting
the price of a mask set to exceed $4M at the 32nm node, fabs are strongly motivated
to thoroughly characterize how a two-pass, double-mask, dual-resist strategy
will print on the wafer under the natural range of process conditions, so that
the mask designs, materials and process parameters are right the first time.
PROLITH 11 allows engineers to model this complex system with unprecedented
precision, and then use the model to optimize the system by exploring the effects
of small or large changes in mask design, photoresist properties, and scanner
or process parameters on the printed pattern. By using PROLITH 11, fabs avoid
time-consuming, expensive experiments on product wafers which delay time to
market and result in thousands of scrapped processed wafers.
As one tool in a complete suite of systems from KLA-Tencor designed to address
advanced lithography challenges, PROLITH 11 has been shipped to leading chipmakers
in the U.S., Japan and Taiwan. The PROLITH platform comprises the most widely
used lithography simulation toolset on the market, installed in the development
groups of virtually every chipmaker currently producing 65nm and 45nm devices.
PROLITH 11 TECHNOLOGY SUMMARY
Fundamental and Rigorous Calculations
- PROLITH 11 is the only lithography simulator to model the topography specific
to double patterning and calculate how variability in printing the first layer
could affect the second layer.
- PROLITH 11 results are based on fundamental optical and kinetic models.
- PROLITH can accommodate:
- Complex film stacks
- Embedded substrate topography
- PROLITH 11 resist models can be calibrated using data from IC manufactures,
resist vendors, research groups and consortia.
Extrapolation of Results for Problem Solving
- The PROLITH 11 model can be used to explore:
- New mask designs
- New photoresists
- Different scanner settings
- Different process parameters
Complementary to Full-Chip Simulators
Complementary to full-chip simulators, which are designed to optimize an entire
chip in less than 24 hours, PROLITH models a small area of the die in full detail
in a few minutes. While the results of full-chip simulators apply to one set
of design and process conditions, PROLITH results can be extrapolated significantly
from the conditions under which the model was generated, so that various solutions
can be explored. PROLITH results can be used to determine the optimum conditions
under which full-chip simulators are run.