A unique hierarchical software tool dramatically simplifies and accelerates post-processing even for the very largest ULSI designs, and is also the first to include proximity effect correction.
A post-processor is a software program which transfers hierarchical CAD files for ULSI (ultra large scale integration) circuit designs to a machine-readable format, allowing the circuit layout to be printed on the physical level of reticles, masks and semiconductor substrates, using electron beam lithography. Developed under the VIP project, CAPROX is the world's most powerful post-processor. With extremely efficient algorithms and preservation of the hierarchy, it results in massive reductions in file size and processing time and, for the first time, allows proximity effect correction of ULSI designs.
Preparation of layouts is one of the most critical steps facing mask shops and direct write labs, especially where machine format files can extend into Gbytes and processing times into weeks. The problem is multiplied with today's enhanced lithography methods like optical proximity correction (OPC). CAPROX address these needs, cutting by several orders of magnitude the file sizes and processing times and is the only tool which allows proximity effect correction at ULSI densities. Moreover, it runs on an ordinary workstation and is currently available commercially on platforms such as DEC AXP, SUN, HP and PC, using standard operating systems.
CAPROX comprises a presentation layer with the Graphical User Interface (GUI), while a communications layer manages and checks data exchanges between the GUI and application layer, which provides data processing and I/O. Formats supported include AutoCAD, GDSII and CIF inputs, and outputs for all e-beam writers. Efficiency of the physical layout depends on optimising the hierarchy tree while still taking account of physical effects, so CAPROX includes a hierarchy factor which monitors the compaction degree from input through to final formatting of the machine file, making this a measurable quantity. CAPROX thus overcomes the problem of combining proximity effect correction with the hierarchical scheme.
Covering applications from reticle/mask fabrication to fast turn-around of prototypes and direct write of circuits, CAPROX can be used for the layouts of even the largest memory and logic circuits, and integrated optic devices. Recently, the entire data preparation of all critical layers of a 256 Mbyte DRAM chip, including proximity effect correction, was performed in a couple of hours. CAPROX is the only commercially available tool in the world which can handle such a complex task in this time.
tel +49-89-609-6051-- fax +49-89-608-600-40
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Research Area Technologies for Components and Subsystems
Keywords electron beam lithography; substrates;ULSI layout correction;
|Elisa S.A. FR|
|European Silicon Structures FR|
|Institut für Mikroelektronik Stuttgart DE|
|Leica Cambridge Ltd UK|
|Sigma-C GmbH DE|
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