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Tool suite 'lays foundation' for extending TCAD to DFM

Posted: 19 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:synopsys? tcad tool suite? technology modeling associates? tma? integrated systems engineering?

Synopsys Inc. introduced early this week a new TCAD tool suite that integrates features of former Technology Modeling Associates (TMA) and Integrated Systems Engineering (ise) products as well as adding new capabilities that enable TCAD to be used in the manufacturing space.

According to the company, the Sentaurus Technology TCAD tool suite sets a new standard for TCAD technology by embedding a suite of core TCAD products for multi-dimensional process, device and system simulation into a powerful user interface. The application space of Sentaurus spans the complete range of semiconductor technologies, from deep submicron logic, memory and mixed signal to smart power, sensors, compound semiconductor, optoelectronics and RF, the company said.

Synopsys said the capabilities of Sentaurus would enable customers to explore and optimize a broad range of process and device alternatives, as well as provide powerful new concepts to improve parametric yield in manufacturing, thereby reducing technology development cost and increasing productivity.

"Manufacturing engineers are turning to TCAD flow, especially if there is a way to do yield analysis," said Terry Ma, director of TCAD product marketing for Synopsys' Silicon Engineering Group. "This is the new aspect of Sentaurus, providing a way to do a very efficient analysis of yield."

Ma added that Synopsys plans additional products and enhancements that will enable customers to use TCAD to bring manufacturing knowledge into design-for-manufacturing (DFM). He characterized the introduction of the tool suite as "laying the foundation" for extending core TCAD technology into manufacturing.

Synopsys said a number of leading semiconductor companies are already using Sentaurus TCAD technologies as a critical part of their technology development flow, including Toshiba and Fairchild Semiconductor.

According to Synopsys, the knowledge gained through TCAD simulation has been used to optimize processes and identify potential yield problems that need to be addressed in the design prior to volume production.

Through proper calibration with prototype wafers, TCAD can accurately predict the behavior of silicon in the manufacturing line for new technology nodes, the company said. This information, coupled with design tools, will enable Synopsys' DFM solution to reach beyond the traditional boundaries of EDA by identifying and addressing manufacturing problems early in the design process, the company said.

The 2004 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductor (ITRS) states that the use of TCAD will provide as much as a 40 percent reduction in technology development costs.

"In this highly competitive environment, more and more of our customers take full advantage of the predictive power of TCAD to reduce cost and time in product development and get their products out on time," said Wolfgang Fichtner, Synopsys vice president of engineering and general manager of TCAD, in a statement. "The newly released Sentaurus provides the superior modeling capabilities to our customers, allowing them to continue to push the technology envelope in a time- and cost-effective manner. With Sentaurus, Synopsys offers highly advanced technology that bridges the gap between manufacturing and EDA and further cements Synopsys' leadership in TCAD and design-for-manufacturing."

Ma said Synopsys would continue to support its existing TCAD tools, including the former TMA tools that Synopsys gained through acquisition of Avanti in 2001. In July, Silvaco claimed that customers said Synopsys planned to "end of life" the TMA products. Synopsys later disputed this claim, and Silvaco retracted it.

Synopsys said the Sentaurus TCAD tool suite is available today. Pricing information was not disclosed.

- Dylan McGrath

EE Times

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