- Arthur:Jinhyuck Jeon
- Company:SK hynix
DRAM chip space is mainly determined by the size of the memory cell array patterns which consist of periodic memory cell features and edges of the periodic array. Resolution Enhancement Techniques (RET) are used to optimize the periodic pattern process performance. Computational Lithography such as source mask optimization (SMO) to find the optimal off axis illumination and optical proximity correction (OPC) combined with model based SRAF placement are applied to print patterns on target.
For 20nm Memory Cell optimization we see challenges that demand additional tool competence for layout optimization. The first challenge is a memory core pattern of brick-wall type with a k1 of 0.28, so it allows only two spectral beams to interfere. We will show how to analytically derive the only valid geometrically limited source. Another consequence of two-beam interference limitation is a ”super stable” core pattern, with the advantage of high depth of focus (DoF) but also low sensitivity to proximity corrections or changes of contact aspect ratio. This makes an array edge correction very difficult. The edge can be the most critical pattern since it forms the transition from the very stable regime of periodic patterns to non-periodic periphery, so it combines the most critical pitch and highest susceptibility to defocus. Above challenge makes the layout correction to a complex optimization task demanding a layout optimization that finds a solution with optimal process stability taking into account DoF, exposure dose latitude (EL), mask error enhancement factor (MEEF) and mask manufacturability constraints. This can only be achieved by simultaneously considering all criteria while placing and sizing SRAFs and main mask features.
The second challenge is the use of a negative tone development (NTD) type resist, which has a strong resist effect and is difficult to characterize experimentally due to negative resist profile taper angles that perturb CD at bottom characterization by scanning electron microscope (SEM) measurements. High resist impact and difficult model data acquisition demand for a simulation model that hat is capable of extrapolating reliably beyond its calibration dataset. We use rigorous simulation models to provide that predictive performance.
We have discussed the need of a rigorous mask optimization process for DRAM contact cell layout yielding mask layouts that are optimal in process performance, mask manufacturability and accuracy. In this paper, we have shown the step by step process from analytical illumination source derivation, a NTD and application tailored model calibration to layout optimization such as OPC and SRAF placement. Finally the work has been verified with simulation and experimental results on wafer.