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EDA/IP??

Tool compresses mask data files in Mebes format

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

Keywords:SoftJin Technologies Pte Ltd? 2005 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors? 45nm? Mebeszip Mebes? graphic design system II?

Among the many challenges created by the rising complexity of IC designs is the explosion in file data volume. By the time the industry arrives at the 45nm node in 2010, mask data volume for a single layer is expected to reach 825Gbytes, according to the 2005 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.

In an effort to help photomask makers deal with that weighty volume of data, EDA software development services vendor SoftJin Technologies Pte Ltd introduced a software product said to compress mask data files in Mebes format by a factor of five to 15, reducing file sizes and associated data transfer times.

According to India's SoftJin, the product, Mebeszip, converts mask data in Mebes format into a compressed proprietary binary format, which can be decompressed back to recover the matching Mebes file bit-for-bit. Mebeszip achieves two to eight timeswith an average of four timesthe data compression of gzip, the common file-compression program often used to compress photomask data, SoftJin said. Mebeszip also allows selective decompression, avoiding the need to decompress the entire file before operating on the data, according to the company.

De facto standard
Mebes is a proprietary mask data format from Applied Materials Inc. It is regarded as the de facto industry standard for exchanging fractured photomask data. Design layout files, in either GDSII or open artwork systems interchange standard (Oasis) data formats, are transferred to Mebes format for transmission to photomask shops.

Mebes files are generally much more data-heavy than either GDSII or Oasis formats because of the addition of resolution enhancement technique (RET) features and the need to provide essentially flat datawith a very limited amount of hierarchyto e-beam photomask pattern-generation tools.

Mebeszip also provides an optional built-in verifier that provides "on-the-spot" verification to check the fidelity of the compressed file. CRC-32-based checksum and MD-5-based fingerprint schemes are used in Mebeszip for verifying data integrity, according to SoftJin. The technology also offers the option of built-in data encryption and decryption to enhance security during transfers of compressed data.

Typical of SoftJin's building-blocks approach, the company is offering Mebeszip either as a standalone tool or as object code that can be built into another tool, said Kumar Venkatramani, currently working with SoftJin as an executive consultant. The technology can be a component of EDA tools, such as mask data preparation, RET, manufacturing rule check, mask data viewer and mask inspection tools that generate or consume Mebes data by using the application programming interface available with Mebeszip, Venkatramani said.

Mebeszip is available now. SoftJin is currently offering it for a free one-month evaluation. Further details, including specific pricing information, were not provided.

Among SoftJin's other products, which are mostly available in object code format as building blocks for companies creating internal or commercial EDA tools, the company offers a compression technology for GDSII files, GDSIIzip, which was introduced in September 2005.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times




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