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Innovation, cooperation key to overcoming DFM issues, says Synopsys exec

Posted: 29 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:design-for-manufacturing? eda? advanced reticle symposium?

Speaking to an audience of mostly photomask manufacturing executives at the Advanced Reticle Symposium Tuesday (June 28), Synopsys Inc.'s Michel Cote praised the way the EDA industry has responded to design-for-manufacturing (DFM) challenges with innovation and said continued industry cooperation is the key to overcoming them.

Cote said he counted 60 new EDA startups exhibiting at the recent Design Automation Conference (DAC), many of which have been built around proposed DFM solutions.

Cote said the key to overcoming DFM challenges is to build and utilize new design methodologies that enable more information - especially pertaining to design intent - to be passed from design to manufacturing. Armed with more information about prioritized and critical areas, Cote said, manufacturers would be better able to make appropriate decisions about when and where to implement aggressive reticle enhancement techniques such as optical proximity correction (OPC).

"Aggressive OPC is usually needed only in certain areas," he said. "Manufacturing engineers need to know which areas."

Cote said design intent can include such information as timing criticality, dummy fills, redundant vias and fracture-sensitive regions.

According to Cote, the industry also needs new solutions that verify that complex shapes on photomasks will print to silicon. He pointed to his company's SiVL silicon-versus-layout verification tool as an example.

Cote, echoing comments made by others - including Synopsys Chairman and CEO Aart de Geus - said heightened concern with DFM is partly due to a shift taking place at the 90-nanometer node and below. While yield has traditionally been based primarily on defect density, the industry is now seeing yield that is based more and more on the limitations of photolithography. Design, he said, will be the primary driver of yield in the future.

"As we move into 65 nanometer," Cote said, "we are really going into design-based yield."

Cote characterized the solution to the DFM problem as greater communication and cooperation in order to build overall solutions. "Designers need to pass as much information as possible forward to manufacturing," Cote said.

Cote added that integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) have an advantage at the beginning of the adoption of a DFM flow because they can supply raw manufacturing data to designers. But this, he said, does not preclude foundries from benefiting from new DFM technologies.

- Dylan McGrath

EE Times

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