Reduction of Proximity Induced Corner Artifacts by Simulation Supported Process Optimization

Reducing proximity artifacts is the most common challenge occurring in mask aligner lithography especially when exposing substrates at larger proximity gaps. Typically, proximity artifacts are most prominent at positions where the symmetry of the structures that should be produced is broken, i.e. line ends or corners. The tests presented here focused on various process parameters expected to influence the occurrence of proximity induced corner artifacts, including geometrical design of the mask structures, as well as exposure optics, gap and dose. It could be shown, that the artifacts can greatly be reduced by a combined optimization of the parameters stated before.