Optical proximity correction (OPC) is one of the most widely used Resolution Enhancement Techniques (RET) in mask designs. Conventional OPC is often designed for a set of nominal imaging parameters without giving sufficient attention to the process variations caused by aspherical wavefront leaving the exit pupil of the lithography system. As a result, the mask designed may deliver poor performance with process variations. In this paper, we first describe how a general point spread function (PSF) with wave aberration can degrade the output pattern quality, and then show how the wave aberration function can be incorporated into an inverse imaging framework for robust input mask pattern design against aberrations. A level-set-based time-dependent model can then be applied to solve it with appropriate finite difference schemes. The optimal mask gives more robust performance against either one specific type of aberration or a combination of different types of aberrations.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.