VLSI physical design automation for double patterning and emerging lithography
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Due to aggressive scaling in semiconductor industry, the traditional optical lithography system is facing great challenges printing 32nm and below circuit layouts. Various promising nanolithography techniques have been developed as alternative solutions for patterning sub-32nm feature size. This dissertation studies physical design related optimization problem for these emerging methodologies, mainly focusing on double patterning and electronic beam lithography. Double Patterning Lithography (DPL) decomposes a single layout into two masks, and patterns the chip in two exposure steps. As a benefit, the pitch size is doubled, which enhances the resolution. However, the decomposition process is not a trivial task. Conflict and stitch are its two main manufacturing challenges. First of all, a post-routing layout decomposer has been developed to perform simultaneous conflict and stitch minimization, making use of the integer linear programming and efficient graph reduction techniques. Compared to the previous work which optimizes conflict and stitch separately, the proposed method produces significantly better result. Redundant via insertion, another key yield improvement technique, may increase the complexity in DPL-compliance. It could easily introduce unmanufacturable conflict, while not carefully planned and inserted. Two algo- rithms have been developed to take care of this redundant via DPL-compliance problem in the design side. While design itself is not DPL-friendly, post-routing decomposition may not achieve satisfactory solution quality. An efficient framework of WISDOM has been further proposed to perform wire spreading for better conflict and stitch elimination. The solution quality has been improved in great extent, with a little extra layout perturbations. As another promising solution for sub-22nm, Electronic Beam Lithography (EBL) is a maskless technology which shoots desired patterns directly into a silicon wafer, with charged particle beam. EBL overcomes the diffraction limit of light in current optical lithography system, however, the low throughput becomes its key technical hurdle. The last work of my dissertation formulates and investigates a bin-packing problem for reducing the processing time of EBL.