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Synopsys adding to its DFM lineup

Posted: 01 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:dylan mcgrath? synopsis inc.? DFM tool? yield analysis engine? simulation product?

Not to be upstaged by fellow top-tier EDA vendors Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Mentor Graphics Corp., each of which launched a major design-for-manufacturing (DFM) tool recently, executives from Synopsys Inc. said the company is developing two new DFM products of its own.

By the end of 2006, Synopsys plans to add a dual-domain simulation product and a next-generation yield analysis tool to its DFM product family. The company contends that its DFM lineup is the most comprehensive in the business, particularly following its acquisition of HPL Technologies in December.

The dual-domain simulation product, intended to address complexity in sub-65nm lithography processes and design layout, uses Synopsys' flash-based simulation engine, which operates in the space or polygon domain, in conjunction with a field-based simulation engine that operates in the frequency domain. The result, according to the company, is a solution that is more powerful than any currently on the market for handling designs with sparse or dense geometries. The tool is in beta, with a production version expected in the fourth quarter, said Anantha Sethuraman, VP of DFM for Synopsys' silicon engineering group.

The yield analysis engine provides relevant process details for addressing DFM-related issues in the design phase. According to Synopsys, the engine handles vital process information used to predict defects from lithography, chemical mechanical planarization and critical area analysis. The abstracted information is transferred upstream to provide quick process sensitivities for designs, arming the designer with significantly more manufacturing information and, ultimately, reducing time-to-results, Synopsys said. The yield analysis engine is in development, with production release planned for late 2006, Sethuraman revealed.

Last year, when Synopsys announced the $13 million deal for HPL, a provider of yield modeling and optimization products and services, it said the acquisition would solidify its position in DFM and make it the first company with a design-to-silicon flow that links directly into the semiconductor manufacturing process. In a recent interview, Sethuraman said, "We have all of the tools that customers need."

In addition to the forthcoming simulation and yield analysis tools, products in Synopsys' DFM stable include photomask synthesis, photomask data preparation, TCAD, lithography verification, photomask qualification and manufacturing yield management tools.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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