In all imaging systems, the underlying process introduces undesirable distortions that cause the output signal to be a warped version of the input. When the input to such systems can be controlled, pre-warping techniques can be employed which consist of systematically modifying the input such that it cancels out (or compensates for) the process losses. In this paper, we focus on the mask (reticle) design problem for 'optical micro-lithography', a process similar to photographic printing used for transferring binary circuit patterns onto silicon wafers. We use a pixel-based mask representation and model the above process as a cascade of convolution (aerial image formation) and thresholding (high-contrast recording) operations. The pre-distorted mask is obtained by minimizing the norm of the difference between the 'desired' output image and the 'reproduced' output image. We employ the regularization framework to ensure that the resulting masks are close-to-binary as well as simple and easy to fabricate.
Finally, we provide insight into two additional applications of pre-warping techniques. First is 'e-beam lithography', used for fabricating nano-scale structures, and second is 'electronic visual prosthesis' which aims at providing limited vision to the blind by using a prosthetic retinally implanted chip capable of electrically stimulating the retinal neuron cells.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.