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Chip Design Authors: Jnan Dash, Jason Bloomberg, Trevor Bradley, David Strom

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Brion Releases State-of-the-Art Source Mask Optimization for Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing

Brion Technologies, a division of ASML, today announced Tachyon SMO, a new source mask optimization (SMO) product. For the first time, full co-optimization of source and mask is achievable with Tachyon SMO. This product provides the industry with manufacturable low k1 imaging solutions and is a major advancement of Brion’s industry standard SMO technology, which is currently in use at the leading logic and memory manufacturers. Tachyon SMO leverages proprietary illumination capabilities and advanced scanner models from ASML to optimize the source simultaneously with all patterns on the mask. Process window improvements of more than 40 percent have been achieved with Tachyon SMO relative to previous iterative techniques.

“ASML and Brion have been working closely with leading edge logic and memory manufacturers using Tachyon SMO to produce source-mask co-optimization solutions for new advanced technology nodes,” said Bob Socha, an ASML fellow engaged for the last 6 years on SMO with our customers. “We clearly see the benefit of extended process windows by tying ASML’s advanced illumination capabilities directly to Brion’s computational lithography expertise.”

Tachyon SMO extends 193 nanometer (nm) low k1 imaging, and ensures an optimized process window from R&D through production while minimizing feature sizes and number of exposures per layer. The product incorporates measured parameters from ASML scanners and a proprietary pupil modeling capability, enabling customers to optimize both standard and custom illumination solutions. The accuracy of the scanner models ensures that the SMO output will transfer and image correctly on the scanner. Full chip extension is performed through the generation of a process model in the standard Tachyon format for use in production OPC and verification.

“By providing our customers low k1 imaging solutions from exploratory R&D to the manufacturing floor, ASML and Brion are delivering holistic lithography to the industry,” said Bert Koek, senior vice president, applications product group at ASML. “We believe ASML and Brion are uniquely suited to address this application space combining detailed scanner knowledge, algorithm design, and computational lithography.”

About Tachyon SMO

Tachyon SMO is an ASML proprietary software product that simultaneously optimizes the ASML scanner source and all patterns on the mask. SMO features include full integration with access to the ASML scanner specification database, multi-clip optimization with weighting, overlapping process window, edge placement error (EPE) and mask error enhancement factor (MEEF) as metrics.

About Brion Technologies

Brion Technologies is a division of ASML and an industry leader in computational lithography for integrated circuits. Brion’s Tachyon™ platform enables capabilities that address chip design, photomask making and wafer printing for semiconductor manufacturing. Brion is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. For more information: www.brion.com.

About ASML

ASML is the world's leading provider of lithography systems for the semiconductor industry, manufacturing complex machines that are critical to the production of integrated circuits or chips. Headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, ASML is traded on Euronext Amsterdam and NASDAQ under the symbol ASML. ASML provides systems and service to chip manufacturers in more than 60 locations in 15 countries. For more information, visit our website: www.asml.com.

© 2009 Brion Technologies. All rights reserved. Brion Technologies, the Brion Technologies logo, and Tachyon are trademarks of Brion Technologies.

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