WILSONVILLE, USA: Mentor Graphics Corp. and JEOL Ltd have 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 for shot count reduction of up to 30 percent 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.
“Our customers have already seen the benefits of our work with Mentor Graphics on improvements in mask quality and faster mask write times at advanced nodes,” said Wataru Wakamiya, corporate officer and GM of the Semiconductor Business Unit at JEOL. “Mentor is an industry leader in optical proximity correction, mask data preparation, and mask process correction, so we are happy to announce the formal extension of our long and successful working relationship.”
“Over the years our collaboration has resulted in significant innovations and reliable solutions for our mutual customers, and this agreement will help to maintain the alignment between Mentor software and JEOL hardware as both our product lines evolve to handle new technology nodes,” said Joseph Sawicki, VP and GM of the Mentor Design to Silicon division. “We look forward to working with JEOL to solve the significant challenges of advanced IC manufacturing.”
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.
The 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.