To print sub 22nm node features, current lithography technology faces some tool limitations. One possible solution to overcome these problems is to use the double patterning technique (DPT). The principle of the double patterning technique is pitch splitting where two adjacent features must be assigned opposite masks (colors) corresponding to different exposures if their pitch is less than a predefined minimum coloring pitch. However, certain design orientations for which pattern features separated by more than the minimum coloring pitch cannot be imaged with either of the two exposures. In these directions, the contrast and the process window are degraded because constructive interferences between diffractive orders in the pupil plane are not sufficient.

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