A new method for simultaneous Source-Mask Optimization (SMO) is presented. In order to produce optimum imaging fidelity with respect to exposure lattitude, depth of focus (DoF) and mask error enhancement factor (MEEF) the presented method aims to leverage both, the available degrees of freedom of a pixelated source and those available for the mask layout. The approach described in this paper is designed as to work with dissected mask polygons. The dissection of the mask patterns is to be performed in advance (before SMO) with the Synopsys Proteus OPC engine, providing the available degrees of freedom for mask pattern optimization. This is similar to mask optimization done for optical proximity correction (OPC). Additionally, however, the illumination source will be simultaneously optimized. The SMO approach borrows many of the performance enhancement methods of OPC software for mask correction, but is especially designed as to simultaneously optimize a pixelated source shape as nowadays available in production environments. Designed as a numerical optimization approach the method is able to assess in acceptable times several hundreds of thousands source-mask combinations for small, critical layout snippets. This allows a global optimization scheme to be applied to the SMO problem which is expected to better explore the optimization space and thus to yield an improved solution quality compared to local optimizations methods. The method is applied to an example system for investigating the impact of source constraints on the SMO results. Also, it is investigated how well possibly conflicting goals of low MEEF and large DoF can be balanced.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.