As design rules shrink aggressively while the wavelength reduction in the exposure equipment cannot keep up, extensive usage of resolution enhancement techniques (RET) has complicated the generation and handling of mask writing data. Consequently, file size growth and computing times for mask data preparation rise beyond feasibility. In order to address these issues, an integrated flow has been developed. It starts out with the gds-file delivered by the backend of design and combines optical proximity correction, design rule and mask process rule verification, and all other necessary steps for mask data preparation into a single flow. The benefits of this strategy are time savings in data processing and handling, the elimination of intermediate files, and the elimination of data format interface issues. Since the new flow takes full advantage of the design hierarchy, file sizes shrink considerably and the whole data preparation infrastructure can be simplified. The paper will describe the transition to the new flow and quantify the benefits.

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