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UMC deploys Numerical mask qualification products

Posted: 19 Aug 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mask inspection equipment? virtual stepper? i-virtual stepper? photomask? umc?

United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has deployed Numerical Technologies Inc.'s simulation-based mask qualification products, specifically the Virtual Stepper and i-Virtual Stepper, in its Taiwan facilities. Numerical's software and technology are designed to reduce the number of mask rejections and false-defect repairs, thereby decreasing both the cost and turnaround time to acquire advanced photomasks for production.

As part of a previous agreement, UMC has qualified Numerical's software in a production environment on multiple standard inspection platforms. Now, UMC is working to utilize Virtual Stepper and i-Virtual Stepper to streamline mask quality assurance. UMC also plans to extend its existing partnership with Numerical to jointly work with major photomask suppliers to implement the i-Virtual Stepper qualification model.

"UMC produces a large volume of chips for customers on 0.185m and smaller processes, all with subwavelength features," stated Frank Wen, general manager and head of central R&D at UMC. "As a result, we strive to get advanced masks for these processes onto our production line quickly. By deploying Numerical's i-Virtual Stepper, we can predict the silicon results of a given photomask before receiving it in our fab. We expect this to ultimately reduce the number of masks that we must return to our suppliers, thereby improving our turnaround time and cost of obtaining advanced photomasks."

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