As I said a number of times, advanced process technology demands a close cooperation among all parties necessary to successfully transform a product idea into a profitable product. Thus at the tail end of the development process companies that offer mask making equipment and EDA vendors that provide the tools for producing the required patterns must work together to find an efficient compromise that lowers costs.
Mentor Graphics Corporation and JEOL Ltd. announced an agreement to collaborate on integrated hardware and software solutions for advanced IC mask writing. The companies are currently engaged in a research program to demonstrate the feasibility of an innovation called multi-resolution writing that aims to reduce required shots by as much as 30% compared to the conventional writing technique, dramatically reducing mask writing time. The new agreement is focused on developing this technology as well as providing optimized interfaces between the Mentor mask data preparation and mask process correction (MPC) software and JEOL e-beam lithography equipment.
The new multi-resolution writing work is enabling patterns “shot” onto the mask blank to alternate between detailed and simplified versions for each pass in a multi-pass, vector e-beam writing system, saving mask writing time. The Mentor mask process correction software helps ensure the correct image is ultimately printed from the sum of exposures. Previously, Mentor and JEOL worked jointly on developing solutions to correct process effects associated with 50 keV ebeam mask writing and on demonstration of the dose encoding algorithm used within the JEOL data specification.
he new agreement collaboration covers the full Mentor Calibre mask data prep product line, and the JEOL JBX-3200MV, JBX-30XXMV and JBX-9000MV mask writer series products. Customers use Mentor software to correct for process variations to improve the fidelity of the final mask pattern and to verify mask data. JEOL also uses Mentor tools to explore innovations during research and development, to verify new product features and to assist in customer support.