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Mentor Graphics Next Generation OPC Technology Ensures Yield Across Manufacturing Process Window

WILSONVILLE, Ore., Jan. 9, 2006 - Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) today announced availability of the Calibre® OPCverify tool. Calibre OPCverify signals the beginning of a new generation of OPC technology, and expands the design for manufacturing (DFM) solutions from Mentor. Calibre OPCverify addresses the challenge of managing the impact of "process variability" on yield.

Process variability can have a dramatic effect on yield. This is especially true in the lithographic process where variability puts image fidelity at risk even when the operating conditions of the lithographic system (lithographic process window) are acceptable. To reduce the risk of silicon failure, avoid costly respins and ensure acceptable yield, Calibre OPCverify detects lithographic errors or marginalities caused by process variability before the design goes to the mask or wafer manufacturer.

The increased complexity of resolution enhancement technology (RET) at 65 nanometers is impacting lithographic yield in several ways. The major contributors to declining yields are: a smaller lithographic process window, increased sensitivity to layout topology in the lithographic process, and complex mask rule constraints that impact the application of RET. These issues must be addressed with a fast, accurate and easy to use RET verification solution that detects yield-limiting conditions.

Calibre OPCverify, which uses silicon-proven simulation models from Calibre OPCpro, is the next generation of RET verification, providing 100% simulation coverage of the entire chip to ensure silicon-patterning success. The Calibre OPCverify pixel-based simulation engine accounts for the effects of process variability using patented algorithms that define the conditions (dose, focus) that adversely impact pattern transfer. All Calibre OPCverify modeling capabilities have been thoroughly characterized for the most advanced process conditions in production, including immersion lithography. The rigorous model development and verification methodology used for the Calibre OPCverify tool allows it to satisfy the stringent requirements for both RET recipe validation and mask verification.

The set-up and configuration of Calibre OPCverify is enabled through a user interface called the Calibre Verification Center. With Calibre OPCVerify and the Calibre Verification Center, a comprehensive and accurate RET mask verification flow can be integrated seamlessly into existing post-layout flows in less than 24 hours.

Another benefit of using Calibre OPCverify and the Calibre Verification Center is that the tools take advantage of existing hardware in the most optimized way possible. With the combination of high-speed compute power available on today's workstations, and the concurrent processing functionality in Calibre MTflex, very fast turn around times for full-chip RET verification can be achieved. Because of the design-independent nature of the tool, users experience very predictable runtimes and excellent scalability. While actual run time is dependent on the hardware used, the Calibre OPCverify terapixel simulator is scalable to hundreds of CPU's, and can handle flat or hierarchical data.

"Verification of post-OPC flow output is critical to minimizing costly mask respins and time-to-market delays," said Dr. Choi Byoung Il, OPC manager, Technical Support Division, Technology Development at Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing. "Augmenting our existing pattern transfer accuracy checking methods with a lithography process window verification capability enhances our ability for early identification of process-sensitive structures across the chip, thereby improving the quality of OPC."

"For 90nm and smaller technology nodes, the complexity of OPC and the constraints that go with it require verification to prevent silicon failures," said Joe Sawicki, vice president and general manager for the design-to-silicon division at Mentor Graphics. "Some customer sources claim that 50% of all mask respins can be avoided by simply verifying the OPC for the effects of process variability. Calibre OPCverify yields a powerful return on investment through savings in mask costs and more predictable yield."

Pricing and Availability:
Calibre OPCverify and the Calibre Verification Center are available immediately. Pricing starts at $80K. More information is available at www.mentor.com or by calling 800-547-3000.

About Mentor Graphics
Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of about $700 million and employs approximately 3,950 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777. World Wide Web site: http://www.mentor.com/.

For more information, please contact:

Carole Thurman
Mentor Graphics
503.685.4716
carole_thurman@mentor.com

Sonia Harrison
Mentor Graphics
503.685.1165
sonia_harrison@mentor.com

Mentor Graphics and Calibre are registered trademarks of Mentor Graphics Corporation. All other company or product names are the registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.

 
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