US RE40239 E1
An illumination system for a microlithographic stepper has a light source that emits light of selected wavelength(s) along an optical path toward a photomask. An aperture mask is positioned in the path of the illumination light and between the light source and the photomask. The aperture mask has a dithered pattern of pixels. The intensity of the pattern controls the illumination of the photomask. The masking aperture pattern defines one or more zones of illumination. Each zone has elements that are patterned in accordance with a selected wavelength of incident light to diffract the incident light into an illumination pattern for illuminating a photomask. Each of the elements is constructed with a matrix of pixels. In the preferred embodiment the array of pixels is 8×8. The number of elements is generally greater than 3×3.
1. A method for controlling on-axis and off-axis illumination of a photomask comprising the steps of :
directing a beam of light of a selected wavelength toward a pupil of an illumination system;
passing the beam of light through a fly's eye lens located near the pupil;
diffracting the light through a masking aperture having a half tone diffraction pattern of dithered pixels patterned for distributingto distribute the light into two or more zones.
2. The method of
(a) the wavelength of light used to illuminate the photomask, and
(b) thea size and shape of the features of the photomask, for generatingto generate a continuous illumination intensity pattern on the photomask with illumination intensity at any location controlled by the half-tone dithered image .
3. The masking aperturemethod of
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
7. The method of
8. The method of
9. The method of
10. The method of
11. The method of claim 1 10 wherein the selected shape is a stepped square.
12. The method of
13. A method for controlling on-axis and off-axis illumination of a photomask comprising:
directing a beam of light of a selected wavelength toward a pupil of an illumination system;
passing the beam of light through a fly's eye lens located near the pupil;
diffracting the light through a masking aperture having a half tone diffraction pattern of dithered pixels patterned for distributingto distribute the light into one or more zones to form a pattern of illumination intensity in the one or more zones wherein each zone has a shape corresponding to shapes selected from the group consisting of ellipses , square rings , stepped squares and any combination thereof.
14. The method of
15. A method for controlling on-axis and off-axis illumination of a photomask comprising:
providing a beam of light;
homogenizing the light with an optical element; and
diffracting the light with a half tone diffraction pattern of dithered pixels patterned to distribute the light into two or more zones.
16. The method of
(a) a wavelength of light used to illuminate the photomask, and
(b) a size and shape of features of the photomask, to generate a continuous illumination intensity pattern on the photomask.
17. The method of
18. The method of
19. The method of
20. The method of
21. The method of
22. The method of
23. The method of
24. The method of
25. The method of
26. The method of
27. A method for controlling on-axis and off-axis illumination of a photomask comprising:
providing a beam of light;
homogenizing the light with an optical element; and
diffracting the light with a half tone diffraction pattern of dithered pixels patterned to distribute the light into one or more zones to form a pattern of illumination intensity in the one or more zones wherein each zone has a shape selected from the group consisting of ellipse, square ring, stepped square and any combination thereof.
28. The method of
This invention claims the benefit of the priority date of the following U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/105,281 filed Oct. 22, 1998 and No. 60/119,780, filed Feb. 11, 1999.
Optical lithography has been one of the principal driving forces behind the continual improvements in the size and performance of the integrated circuit (IC) since its inception. Feature resolution down to 0.30 μm is now routine using the 365 nm mercury (Hg) i-line wavelength and optical projection tools operating at numerical apertures above 0.55 with aberration levels below 0.05 λRMS OPD. The industry is at a point where resolution is limited for current optical lithographic technologies. In order to extend capabilities toward sub-0.25 μm, modifications in source wavelength, optics, illumination, masking, and process technology are required and are getting very much attention.
However, as devices get smaller, the photomask pattern becomes finer. Fine patterns diffract light and thus detract from imaging the photomask onto the surface of a wafer.
As will be shown below, some solutions to this problem rely upon shaping the rays of light impinging the photomask in order to provide off-axis illumination to compensate for the lost contrast due to diffraction. These techniques rely upon optical systems for shaping the rays that illuminate the photomask.
In considering potential strategies for sub-0.25 μm lithography, the identification of purely optical issues is difficult. Historically, the Rayleigh criteria for resolution (R) and depth of focus (DOF) has been utilized to evaluate the performance of a given technology:
The Hg lamp is a source well suited for photolithography and is relied on almost entirely for production of radiation in the 350-450 nm range. Excimer lasers using argon fluoride (ArF) and krypton fluoride (KrF), which produce radiation at 193 nm and 248 nm, respectively, are also used. DUV lithography at 248 nm is now being implemented into manufacturing operations and may be capable of resolution to 0.18 μm.
The control of the relative size of the illumination system numerical aperture has historically been used to optimize the performance of a lithographic projection tool. Control of this NA with respect to the projection systems objective lens NA allows for modification of spatial coherence at the mask plane, commonly referred to partial coherence. This is accomplished through specification of the condenser lens pupil size with respect to the projection lens pupil in a K ōhler illumination system. Essentially this allows for manipulation of the optical processing of diffraction information. Optimization of the partial coherence of a projection imaging system is conventionally accomplished using full circular illuminator apertures. By controlling the distribution of diffraction information in the objective lens with the illuminator pupil size, maximum image modulation can be obtained. Illumination systems can be further refined by considering variations to fall circular illumination apertures. A system where illumination is obliquely incident on the mask at an angle so that the zero-th and first diffraction orders are distributed on alternative sides of the optical axis may allow for improvements. Such an approach is generally referred to as off-axis illumination. The resulting two diffraction orders can be sufficient for imaging. The minimum pitch resolution possible for this oblique condition of partially coherent illumination is 0.5 λ/NA, one half that possible for conventional illumination. This is accomplished by limiting illumination to two narrow beams, distributed at selected angles. The illumination angle is chosen uniquely for a given wavelength (λ), numerical aperture (NA), and feature pitch (d) and can be calculated for dense features as sin−1 (0.5 λ/d) for NA=0.5 λ/d. The most significant impact of off axis illumination is realized when considering focal depth. In this case, the zero-th and 1st diffraction orders travel an identical path length regardless of the defocus amount. The consequence is a depth of focus that is effectively infinite.
In practice, limiting illumination to allow for one narrow beam or pair of beams leads to zero intensity. Also, imaging is limited to features oriented along one direction in an x-y plane. To overcome this, an annular or ring aperture has been employed that delivers illumination at angles needed with a finite ring width to allow for some finite intensity. The resulting focal depth is less than that for the ideal case, but improvement over a full circular aperture can be achieved. For most integrated circuit application, features are limited to horizontal and vertical orientation, and a four-zone configuration may be more suitable. Here, zones are at diagonal positions oriented 45 degrees to horizontal and vertical mask features. Each beam is off-axis to all mask features, and minimal image degradation exists. Either the annular or the four-zone off-axis system can be optimized for a specific feature size, which would provide non-optimal illumination for all others. For features other than those that are targeted and optimized for, higher frequency components do not overlap, and additional spatial frequency artifacts are introduced. This can lead to a possible degradation of imaging performance.
When considering dense features (1:1 to 1:3 line to space duty ratio), modulation and focal depth improvement can be realized through proper choice of illumination configuration and angle. For true isolated features, however, discrete diffraction orders would not exist; instead a continuous diffraction pattern is produced. Convolving such a frequency representation with either illumination zones or annular rings would result in diffraction information distributed over a range of angles. Truly isolated line performance is, therefore, not improved with off-axis illumination. When features are not completely isolated but have low density (>1:3 line to space duty ratio), the condition for optimum illumination will not be optimal for more dense features.
Furthermore, the use of off-axis illumination is generally not required for the large pitch values that correspond to low density geometry. As dense and mostly isolated features are considered together in a field, it follows that the impact of off-axis illumination on these features will differ, and a large disparity in dense to isolated feature performance can result.
One approach to generate off-axis illumination is to incorporate a metal aperture plate filter into the fly eye lens assembly of the projection system illuminator providing oblique illumination. A pattern on such a metal plate would have four quadruple openings (zones) with sizing and spacing set to allow diffraction order overlap for specific geometry sizing and duty ratio on the photomask, as disclosed in JP patent Laid-Open (KOKAI) Publication No. 4-267515. Such an approach results in a significant loss in intensity available to the mask, lowering throughput and making the approach less than desirable. Additionally, the four circular openings need to be designed specifically for certain mask geometry and pitch and would not improve the performance of other geometry sizes and spacings. Large levels of mask biasing or mask optical proximity correction (OPC), where mask features are pre-distorted to produce desired image characteristics, would be required to allow for use of this approach with a variety of features. Filtering, by limiting its effective area, reduces the effect of the fly eye diffuser on maximizing illumination uniformity. Illumination uniformity may be degraded. This approach also limits the illumination profile to one having holes in a metal plate. That is, the masking metal must remain contiguous. The previous work in this area describes such methods using either two or four openings in the aperture plate: EP0500393, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,305,054, 5,673,103, 5,638,211, EP0496891, EP0486316, U.S. Pat. No. 379,252.
Another approach to off-axis illumination using the four-zone configuration, which is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,627,625, is to divide the illumination field of the projection system into beams that can be shaped to distribute off-axis illumination to the photomask. By incorporating the ability to shape off-axis illumination, throughput and flexibility of the exposure source is maintained. Additionally, this approach allows for illumination that combines off-axis and on-axis (conventional) characteristics. By doing so, the improvement to dense features that are targeted with off-axis illumination is less significant than straight off-axis illumination. The performance of less dense features, however, is more optimal because of the more preferred on-axis illumination for these features. The result is a reduction in the optical proximity effect between dense and isolated features. Optimization is less dependent on feature geometry and more universal illumination conditions can be selected.
A problem with this divided illumination approach is that it requires reconfiguration of the illumination system of a projection tool, a task that is not practical on existing tools or systems designed with other illumination systems. Additionally, the use of divided beam illumination limits the fine control of beam shape, size, and position to that which is possible with optical components utilized in the system. Variations in shape, size, position, number of beams, maximum aperture size, or other feature or lens specific variations to the illumination intensity profile become difficult without significant mechanical modifications. Some variations may not be practical or possible with this approach. This has significantly limited the acceptance or use of this approach in most integrated circuit fabrication operations.
A shaped illumination approach is described that allows for off-axis illumination of a photomask in a projection exposure tool. It is necessary to control both the off-axis and the on-axis character of the illumination for instance so that dense line performance can be improved and more isolated line performance can be maintained, i.e., optical proximity effect (hereinafter “OPE”) is kept to a minimum. Minimal OPE correction is desired to reduce mask complexity. There is also a desire for a flexible technique that can be incorporated into most existing or future generation projection exposure tools with a minimum amount of illumination system retrofitting. It is important that such an improvement be easily removed to allow a return to original operation conditions since it is expected that a given projection exposure system would be used for a variety of applications. Such an approach can lead to optimizing illumination conditions, which can be incorporated into an exposure system as a more permanent condition. The invention also provides an improvement that allows for fine adjustment or modification to accommodate mask-specific or lens-specific characteristics is important as resolution and focal depth requirement are pushed beyond the capability of conventional optical lithography. Maintaining illumination throughput is also critical, as any loss in intensity will result in increased exposure time requirements.
The invention provides such a solution. It modifies existing illumination system by adding a masking aperture in the illumination pupil plane, fabricated as an optical component reticle, patterned and dithered into a large number of elements to allow for control of the projected light distribution at the mask plane and inserted at the condenser lens pupil plane. This masking aperture comprises a translucent substrate and a masking film. The distribution of the intensity through the masking aperture in the illumination pupil plane, is determined to provide optimized illumination. The illumination region or regions exhibit varying intensity, which is accomplished by creating a half-tone pattern via pixelation of the masking film, thereby allowing for maximum variation in illumination beyond the simple binary (clear or opaque) possible with earlier pupil plane filtering approaches.
More specifically, the invention includes an aperture mask for an illumination system to provide controlled on-axis and off-axis illumination. The aperture mask acts as a diffraction element. The aperture mask is divided into an array of elements and each element contains an array of pixels. Each of the elements is constructed with a matrix of pixels. In the preferred embodiment the array of pixels is 8×8. The number of elements in the illumination array are generally larger than 3×3 and array sizes of 21×21 and 51×51 are an example, which correspond to 441 and 2601 elements respectively. The elements are patterned in accordance with a selected wavelength of incident light to diffract the incident light into an illumination pattern for illuminating a photomask.
The intensity is modulated by the intensity state of pixels within each element. The highest intensity element has all pixels clear or maximum intensity. Light of suitable wavelength passes through without attenuation. An element with 64 pixels having dark or minimum intensity attenuates or blocks all light. Elements of intensity between none (0%) and all (100%) are created by the state of the pixels in a given element. Random patterns and other patterns between elements may produce artifacts similar to moire patterns. Such artifacts are undesired. I discovered that a dithered pattern using position dependent thresholds produced illumination patterns that had little or no artifacts.
I also discovered that traditional, optical shaping systems such as beam-splitters or diffractive optical elements and my diffraction shaping system can each be improved by adding an illumination aperture. A square illumination aperture shows maximum improvement. It is located at or near the pupil of the illumination system. An aperture with a large, central square opening and an opaque border is inserted at the condenser lens pupil proximate to the fly's eye lens. It can also be designed into the masking aperture. The resulting illumination pattern fills the corners and squares the edges of the illumination pupil and limits the non-optimal frequency spreading character along the x and y axes while optimizing the off-axis illumination angles. The square illumination aperture is especially helpful for imaging features that are oriented along x and y directions in the mask plane. The use of a central obscuration (square and also round shaped) applied in the same location can similarly be achieved and can lead to performance improvements described hereinafter. Furthermore, any combination of off-axis illumination with a square pupil or obscuration has potential to improve performance for geometry oriented in the x-y direction. This can include, but is not limited to, round zones, elliptical zones, square zones, and annular slots (that is an annular ring masked off on x and y axis to form arc-shaped zones).
For given ranges of feature types and/or sizes (types being lines, spaces, contacts, and dense or isolated combinations of these) exposure conditions are optimized by determining the average off-axis angle to accommodate all features. The distribution of off-axis angles is then determined based on the range of feature sizes of interest. As the range of feature sizes increases, the condition of off-axis illumination approaches a limit equivalent to the on-axis condition. Most commonly, duty ratios for a given feature size may range from 1:1 to 1:6 line:space ratio. The spread of off-axis illumination angles is accomplished by shaping zones (for the two or more zone, including four-zone) or rings (for the annular) to produce continuous intensity distributions.
As an example of the design considerations, 130 nm features are considered using a 193 nm exposure wavelength and a 0.60 objective lens numerical aperture. Duty ratios from 1:1 to 1:6 are included. Features are considered dense with a duty ratio less than 1:3. Table 1 shows the pitch values (p) for these dense features, along with the required axis center sigma and four-zone center sigma (σc) values for optimum off-axis illumination. Center sigma values on axis are determined as λ/(2p·NA), as shown in FIG. 1. Since diffraction order placement is determined by the projection of the four-zone onto the x or y axis, the center four-zone sigma values are larger by a (2)1/2 factor.
In order to design an off-axis illumination configuration that can accommodate and enhance the range of pitch values in Table 1, zone position and radius values must be chosen so that some amount of order overlap occurs for each case. This can be accomplished if the four-zone center σc and the radius σr values are set as follows:
These choices for zone center and radius values correspond to the situation where zero and first diffraction orders begin to overlap for the extreme pitch values of 260 and 455 nm, as shown in FIG. 2. The (2)1/2 term does not factor into determination of σr values since the zone radius is projected directly onto the axes. The extent of order overlap for these extreme pitch values is, however, mostly ineffectual, and larger σr values are required to influence performance. A σr value of 0.20 allows for significant order overlap (˜20%) and is a more practical starting value for further optimization.
When imaging of both dense and isolated features, illumination that resembles both the strong four-zone and the conventional on-axis illumination is desirable. This can lead, for instance, to the four-zone illumination design where circular zones are replaced with continuous tone zones, as shown in FIG. 3.
The masking aperture of this invention is a bilevel representation of the desired intensity distribution in the illuminator. It is desired to resemble a near continuously varying transition from open to opaque areas. To achieve this result, the illumination pattern is divided into a large number of elements and each element is a matrix of pixels. Dithering or pixelation of the continuous distribution of intensity is used for translation to the binary or bilevel masking aperture. The element array is large, consisting of, for instance, 5×5, 7×7, 9×9, 11×11, 21×21 or 51×51 elements, but not limited to these cases. The illumination profile is divided into such an element array. Individual masking pixels are small, on the order of 10 to 100 μm, and are either translucent or opaque. Their size is dependent on the size of the physical masking aperture. The continuous tone nature of the illumination intensity profile is translated by controlling the spatial density of the bilevel display states on the masking aperture. Several decision rules may be implemented to produce the output distribution on the masking aperture. A fixed threshold technique is simplest in form, but an ordered dithering approach may be used to most effectively translate a continuous tone intensity profile into a bilevel masking aperture representation. Intensity values are compared to a position-dependent set of threshold values, contained in a n×n dither matrix. A set of selection rules repeats the dither matrix in a checkerboard arrangement over the illumination field. One key to this approach is the generation of a bilevel representation of the continuous tone image with the minimal amount of low spatial frequency noise. In other words, the occurrence of texture, granularity, or other artifacts is reduced to a minimum, allowing for the critical control of illumination uniformity demanded in projection exposure tools.
The resulting bilevel representation of the continuous tone off-axis and/or on-axis illumination profile is then suitable for recording into a photo-sensitive or electron beam-sensitive resist material through use of mask pattern generator. Other approaches might use lithographic techniques common to lithographic or printing technologies. Such a resist material, when coated over an opaque film or translucent substrate, can allow for pattern delineation and creation of the masking aperture.
In the present invention, the existing intensity distribution at the pupil plane of an illumination system for a projection exposure tool is modified through use of a bilevel masking aperture containing a masking cell representation of a continuous tone intensity distribution.
If the existing illumination intensity distribution at the pupil plane of the illumination system is not uniform, the non-uniformity at the plane can be deconvolved in accordance with the invention to result in a masking aperture that also incorporates compensation for non-uniformity. For example, many steppers provide a pupil that is guaranteed uniform (+/−1%) for only 80% of its full opening. At 85% open, the uniformity of illumination may vary up to +/− 10% or more. With the invention, the non-uniformity may be canceled or reduced to an acceptable level.
The overlapping of the continuous intensity regions in the center of the illumination field produces the on-axis character required for less dense features. The central intensity is generally greater than 0% and is commonly in the 10 to 50% range.
Illumination zones within the masking aperture control the illumination to mask and are designed to produce optimal off-axis, on-axis, or combined illumination. This invention allows for an infinite variety and number of such zones. Some are most desirable.
Zones may be circular, elliptical, 45 degree elliptical (that is, elliptical but oriented with axes at angles of 45 degrees and 135 degrees), square, or other shapes dependent on the desired distribution of diffraction information to match mask geometry requirements or specific lens behavior. The distribution of the energy in these zones or rings may be stepped, Gaussian, Lorentzian, or other similar shape. The kurtosis of gaussian distributions may be normal (mesokurtic), narrow (leptokurtic), or flat-topped (platykurtic), or combinations of these among zones. Skewness, or departure from symmetry of the distribution may be utilized for differential weighting of certain feature sizes. Circular symmetry may be best suited for most general cases and elliptical distributions can be utilized to accommodate x-y nonuniformities of the photomask or imparted by the projection lens (a result for instance of astigmatic or comatic aberration).
For imaging of geometry in two directions only (x and y only for instance), there is only a need to spread diffraction order information in the direction of geometry. By limiting zone intensity distribution to x and y directions, resulting in continuous intensity or stepped-square shaped zones, maximum off-axis illumination is maintained up to the maximum angle allowed by the zone dimensions. Beyond these angles, the degree of off-axis illumination is limited and can be tailored more specifically for the x and y oriented geometry.
A square or rectangular shaped obscuration (or an inner limiting zone) emphasizes the off-axis illumination for feature pitch values whose frequency distribution falls beyond the chosen value (greater than lambda/(w*NA) where w is the fall width obscuration value between 0 and 2). This is shown in
Other combinations of source distributions are possible.
The masking aperture varies the intensity of the transmitted light at any element by modulating the state of pixels in each element. The highest intensity element has all pixels on or at maximum intensity. Light of suitable wavelength passes through without attenuation. In a preferred embodiment as shown in
A masking aperture with a bilevel representation of such an illumination distribution is created by dithering the continuous tone images. Random techniques or fixed threshold techniques can be used. These fixed threshold techniques are based on decision rules where any intensity value greater than a threshold value (T) results in a transparent masking cell and a value less than T results in an opaque masking cell. The result is generally a high degree on banding in the bilevel representation. A slight improvement over this method is to replace T with equally distributed random numbers over the range 0 to 5 with a new random number generated for each intensity value. Less banding results but signal to noise is low. A superior approach to the dithered representation is possible by comparing image intensity values to position dependent thresholds contained in an n×n dither matrix, D″. For a D″ matrix, a matrix element D″i,j is chosen based on a rule set that causes the dither matrix to be repeated in a checkerboard fashion over the entire image with minimum low spatial frequency noise. The proper choice of the dither matrix results in minimum texture or artifacts and maximum uniformity in intensity. In general, the optimum dither matrix is represented by the recursion relationship:
The performance improvement for 130 nm features using a 193 nm wavelength and 0.60 lens numerical aperture is described using a normalized aerial image log-slope NILS metric (normalized to the feature size). This is the log of the slope of the intensity image (or aerial image).
The amount of total intensity allowed to pass through a masking aperture will determine its acceptability in situations where exposure throughput is a concern, such as with the fabrication of integrated circuit devices. Table 2 is a comparison of the throughput efficiency of several variations of the distributed-intensity four-zone approach, measured relative to conventional illumination with a σ of 0.7 and a strong circular zone approach, where off-axis illumination is provided by four circular zones on a zero transmission field. The worst case throughput is for the circular zone four-zone design, where the total intensity through the pupil is 27% of that for conventional illumination with σ=0.7. The distributed-intensity four-zone approach with a 0.7 σ circular hard stop leads to 83% throughput and the same design with a 0.7 half-width square hard stop results in 85% throughput. If the square limiting zone is increased in size to 0.8 half-width, the throughput increases to 93% and imaging performance remains comparable to the circular hard stop. This efficiency comes about because of the amount of energy allowed at the corners of the square pupil, where the diagonal approaches the full extent of the condenser lens pupil, or a σ value near 1.0. Comparison of intensity throughput is an important one as illumination modification is considered. If the illumination system of an exposure tool can allow full value, σ=1 operation, this square hard stop variation of the distributed-intensity four-zone can lead to minimal losses.
For on-axis conventional illumination, lens aberrations are evaluated assuming full use of a lens pupil. With off-axis illumination, diffraction information is distributed selectively over the lens pupil, influencing the impact of aberrations on imaging. In general, astigmatic effects can worsen while spherical aberration and defocus effects can be improved. Coma induced image placement can be further aggravated with OAI unless rebalanced with tilt.
Implementation of the invention into existing illumination systems is accomplished via access to the illumination optical system. In one embodiment, pixilated half-tone illumination files are transferred lithographically onto a transparent substrate, such as fused silica, coated with a suitably opaque masking layer, such as chromium. A photoresist film coated over the metal coated transparent substrate is exposed using optical, electron beam, or other methods by translating the bi-level illumination representation into a suitable machine-readable format. Photoresist development and subsequent etching of the underlying masking film allows transfer of the pattern to the masking aperture. An anti-reflective layer can be coated over the masking film prior to photoresist coating, exposure, and processing to reduce reflection, stray light, and flare effects in the illumination field of the exposure tool. An anti-reflective layer can be coated over the patterned aperture to match reflectances over the entire illumination field. Alignment of apertures is made possible by incorporating alignment fiducials on the masking apertures and on an aperture holders used to mount the invention into the exposure tool illumination system. Apertures can be inserted into as pupil plane of the illumination system.
Those skilled in the art will understand that a number of the new results achieved with the above-described aperture mask may also be achieved with a traditional beamsplitter illumination system. For example, consider an illumination system such as the one shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,627,625. When an aperture mask 60 with a large, central square opening 64 and an opaque border 62 is inserted proximate to the fly's eye or in the lens pupil 19, the four beams from the beam splitter 16 generate contour and three dimensional plots similar to
The masking aperture described above may be used alone or in combination with prior art techniques and apparatus. For example, the masking aperture of the invention may be combined with the four hole metal mask described in JP patent Laid-Open (KOKAI) Publication No. 4-267515 and discussed in the background of U.S. Pat. No. 5,627,625.
Those skilled in the art will understand that the new results achieved with elliptical, 45 degree elliptical, square rings, and square shaped zones may also be achieved with alternative approaches, including the beamsplitter approach. This could be accomplished for example with the illumination system shown in
Those skilled in the art will also understand that the new results achieved with elliptical, 45 degree elliptical, square rings, and square shaped zone may also be achieved with diffractive optical element approaches to beam shaping, such as that described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,926,257 and 5,631,721 by tailoring the diffractive optical elements to exhibit these characteristics. The micro-diffractive optical elements within the beam-shaping optical system (2) in
The present invention is described above but it is to be understood that it is not limited to these descriptive examples. The numerical values, number of zones, shapes, and limiting zones may be changed to accommodate specific conditions of masking, aberration, feature orientation, duty ratio requirements, lens parameters, initial illumination non-uniformities, and the like as required to achieve high integrated circuit pattern resolution. Results can also be obtained by controlling illumination at any Fourier Transform plan in the illumination system.