News Column

"Automating Integrated Circuit Device Library Generation in Model Based Metrology" in Patent Application Approval Process

August 7, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventors Saleh, Nedal (Santa Clara, CA); Vaid, Alok (Ballston Lake, NY), filed on January 15, 2013, was made available online on July 24, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Globalfoundries Inc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Developing and testing integrated circuit (IC) devices, also referred to as semiconductor devices, involves designing, manufacturing and testing these devices according to desired operating parameters. Quality assurance has been a concern in the development, fabrication and testing of IC devices, but is particularly important as these devices become ever more complex.

"As IC devices have evolved from two-dimensional (2D) to three-dimensional (3D) structures, quality assurance methods are evolved as well. The quality assurance process is also referred to as 'metrology.' Older metrologies used at the 2D level include using a critical dimension scanning electron microscope (CDSEM) to analyze 2D structures formed according to a particular design and manufacturing process.

"Currently, scatterometry (a type of optical-based metrology also referred to as optical critical dimension, or OCD) is being used as a metrology technique for 3D or other complex IC structures. Scatterometry involves propelling light at an IC structure (e.g., a device, array and/or chip, which may be at a nanometer (nm) scale) and detecting how that light scatters. The manner in which the light scatters indicates the quality (dimensions) of the IC structure as compared to a desired model. Scatterometry can help to identify issues between layers of a structure, as well as within or between buried devices or objects in a structure. Scatterometry is an attractive metrology for a number of reasons, one of which is that it is generally non-destructive. That is, the IC structure tested via scatterometry need not be discarded after testing (as in older metrologies). Scatterometry also allows for high throughput, meaning that a large number of structures can be tested within a short period of time.

"The term 'model-based metrology' refers to the conventional process of using scatterometry by building a model of how an expected IC structure scatter the light, and comparing the measured scatterometry data to that model. The model is essentially a database that includes a variety of diffraction signatures for the 3D structure. However, the model-based nature of scatterometry means that this approach is highly model and structure dependent, with a very long lead-time. Being model-based, conventional scatterometry relies upon providing and updating a large database with information about dimensions and parameters of IC structures."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Various embodiments include computer-implemented methods, computer program products and systems for generating an integrated circuit (IC) library for use in a scatterometry analysis. In some cases, approaches include: obtaining chip design data about at least one IC chip; obtaining user input data about the at least one IC chip; and running an IC library defining program using the chip design data in its original format and the user input data in its original format, the running of the IC library defining program including: determining a process variation for the at least one IC chip based upon the chip design data and the user input data; converting the process variation into shape variation data; and providing the shape variation data in a text format for use by a scatterometry modeling program in the scatterometry analysis.

"A first aspect includes a computer-implemented method of generating an integrated circuit (IC) library for use in a scatterometry analysis, the method including: obtaining chip design data about at least one IC chip; obtaining user input data about the at least one IC chip; and running an IC library defining program using the chip design data in its original format and the user input data in its original format, the running of the IC library defining program including: determining a process variation for the at least one IC chip based upon the chip design data and the user input data; converting the process variation into shape variation data; and providing the shape variation data in a text format for use by a scatterometry modeling program in the scatterometry analysis.

"A second aspect includes a system having: at least one computing device configured to generate an integrated circuit (IC) library for use in a scatterometry analysis by performing actions including: obtaining chip design data about at least one IC chip; obtaining user input data about the at least one IC chip; and running an IC library defining program using the chip design data in its original format and the user input data in its original format, the running of the IC library defining program including: determining a process variation for the at least one IC chip based upon the chip design data and the user input data; converting the process variation into shape variation data; and providing the shape variation data in a text format for use by a scatterometry modeling program in the scatterometry analysis.

"A third aspect includes a computer program product including program code, which when executed on at least one computing device, causes the at least one computing device to generate an integrated circuit (IC) library for use in a scatterometry analysis by performing actions including: obtaining chip design data about at least one IC chip; obtaining user input data about the at least one IC chip; and running an IC library defining program using the chip design data in its original format and the user input data in its original format, the running of the IC library defining program including: determining a process variation for the at least one IC chip based upon the chip design data and the user input data; converting the process variation into shape variation data; and providing the shape variation data in a text format for use by a scatterometry modeling program in the scatterometry analysis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 shows a schematic environment for implementing an integrated circuit (IC) scatterometry library program according to various embodiments.

"FIGS. 2-4 show flow diagrams depicting processes according to various embodiments.

"FIGS. 5-6 show example schematic illustrations of processes of transforming raw process variation data into shape variation data according to various embodiments.

"FIG. 7 shows a schematic architectural depiction of a Graphics Data System (GDS) library program according to various embodiments.

"FIG. 8 shows a schematic flow diagram illustrating processes performed by the GDS library program according to various embodiments.

"FIG. 9 shows a schematic depiction of a GDS library file according to various embodiments.

"It is noted that the drawings of the invention are not necessarily to scale. The drawings are intended to depict only typical aspects of the invention, and therefore should not be considered as limiting the scope of the invention. In the drawings, like numbering represents like elements between the drawings."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Saleh, Nedal; Vaid, Alok. Automating Integrated Circuit Device Library Generation in Model Based Metrology. Filed January 15, 2013 and posted July 24, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=185&p=4&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140717.PD.&OS=PD/20140717&RS=PD/20140717

Keywords for this news article include: Globalfoundries Inc.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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