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KLA-Tencor, Aprio collaborate on advanced mask design tools

Posted: 27 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mask design inspection tool? repair tool? dfm?

KLA-Tencor and Aprio Technologies, a DFM solutions provider, revealed their intent to collaborate on the development of an integrated advanced mask design inspection and repair tool. The collaboration signals KLA-Tencor's latest step forward in providing critical yield management solutions for the growing DFM market.

Both companies assert that this partnership will encourage better collaboration between their customers' design and manufacturing teams. As part of this collaboration, Aprio will provide new functionality to products under development at KLA-Tencor that address automated mask layout inspection.

By leveraging Aprio's Halo suite of manufacturing-side optical proximity correction (OPC) and lithography simulation tools, users are expected to be able to quickly and accurately repair local mask layout errors identified by KLA-Tencor's mask layout inspections.

Unlike first-generation OPC tools, Halo enables users to reconfigure an OPC design layout to correct problems and achieve optimal results without having to re-run the entire OPC generation from scratch -- by allowing designers to reuse OPC information that already exists. As a result, Halo can enable up to 30-times faster results in implementing a design change in the mask data.

While many DFM companies first create tools for designers, KLA-Tencor and Aprio both see the greater need to address DFM challenges on the manufacturing side first, since that is the source for most DFM problems.

Both also agree on the need to shift from a rules-based handoff procedure to a models-based DFM methodology in order to address the yield impact of shrinking process windows and growing process variability on the design. A models-based approach allows companies to reduce their sampling and target their process control methods to design areas that matter most, reducing the amount of design re-work needed as well as improving yields.

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