Technology node scaling to the 7-nm node, self-aligned quadruple patterning plus cutting/blocking is widely adopted as a lithography solution for critical line and space layers. The cutting/blocking process can be done by 193i or EUV lithography. Due to resolution requirements in both directions, 193i requires two or three exposures to accomplish the cutting/blocking process, and the overlay among the exposures must be controlled very tightly. EUV can accomplish cutting/blocking by one exposure. However, the extremely high cost of EUV tool and mask, together with not so high throughput, appears to suggest that EUV lithography is not a cost-effective solution. From both technical and cost perspectives, we explore the possibility of using multi-e-beam lithography as an alternative solution for 7-nm cutting/blocking layers. First, we analyze design rules, which define resolution and overlay requirements of the cutting/blocking patterns. Then we report the lithography performance data of our leading-edge multi-e-beam tool and compare them with the cutting/blocking requirements. Finally, we do the cost analysis. Our results indicate that multi-e-beam lithography has a cost per wafer per layer advantage if it can commit a resolution of 32-nm half pitch, an overlay of , and a throughput of 5 to 10 wph.