Design for manufacturing with advanced lithography
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Shrinking the feature size of very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI) with advanced lithography has been a holy grail for the semiconductor industry. However, the gap between manufacturing capability and the expectation of design performance becomes critically challenged in sub-16nm technology nodes. To bridge this gap, design for manufacturing (DFM) is a must to co-optimize both design and lithography process at the same time. DFM for advanced lithography could be defined very differently under different circumstances. In general, progress in advanced lithography happens along three different directions: (1) New patterning technique (e.g., layout decomposition for different patterning techniques); (2) New design methodology (e.g., lithography aware standard cell design and physical design); (3) New illumination system (e.g., layout fracturing for EBL system, stencil planning for EBL system). In this dissertation, we present our research results on design for manufacturing (DFM) with multiple patterning lithography (MPL) and electron beam lithography (EBL) addressing these three DFM research directions in advanced lithography. For the research direction of new patterning technique, we study the layout decomposition problems for different patterning technique and explore four important topics: (1) layout decomposition for triple patterning; (2) density balanced layout decomposition for triple patterning; (3) layout decomposition for triple patterning with end-cutting; (4) layout decomposition for quadruple patterning and beyond. We present the proof that triple patterning layout decomposition is NP-hard. Besides, we propose a number of CAD optimization and integration techniques to solve different problems. For the research direction of new design methodology, we will show the limitation of traditional design flow. That is, ignoring triple patterning lithography (TPL) in early stages may limit the potential to resolve all the TPL conflicts. We propose a coherent framework, including standard cell compliance and detailed placement, to enable TPL friendly design. Considering TPL constraints during early design stages, such as standard cell compliance, improves the layout decomposability. With the pre-coloring solutions of standard cells, we present a TPL aware detailed placement where the layout decomposition and placement can be resolved simultaneously. In addition, we propose a linear dynamic programming to solve TPL aware detailed placement with maximum displacement, which can achieve good trade-off in terms of runtime and performance. For the EBL illumination system, we focus on two topics to improve the throughput of the whole EBL system: (1) overlapping aware stencil planning under MCC system; (2) L-shape based layout fracturing for mask preparation. With simulations and experiments, we demonstrate the critical role and effectiveness of DFM techniques for the advanced lithography, as the semiconductor industry marches forward in the deeper sub-micron domain.