Mask modeling in the low k(1) and ultrahigh NA regime: Phase and polarization effects
This paper reviews state of the art mask modeling for optical lithography. Rigorous electromagnetic field (EMF) simulation of light diffraction from optical masks is compared to the traditional assumption of an infinitely thin mask, the so called Kirchhoff approach. Rigorous EMF simulation will be employed to analyze mask polarization phenomena which become important in the ultrahigh NA regime. Several important lithographic phenomena, which can be explained only with rigorous EMF simulation, are discussed. This includes the printability of small assist features, intensity imbalancing for alternating PSM, and process window deformations. The paper concludes with a discussion on material issues and algorithmic extensions which will be necessary for an accurate modeling of future mask technology.