EV Group (EVG) announced it has formed a collaborative product development partnership with GenISys GmbH for the development and marketing of a simulation platform for advanced mask aligner lithography processes. The first technological advance to come out of this partnership is GenISys Layout LAB, an easy-to-use simulation platform for mask aligner lithography.
As pioneers in the area of simulation of lithography for mask aligners, EV Group and GenISys are combining their experience and knowledge to create brand new software, which opens up very new opportunities for optimizing equipment, layout and processes, saving development time, cost and increasing the yield in manufacturing. Layout LAB will also be a good tool for process documentation, verification and trouble shooting the manufacturing process.
"Lithography is one of the critical process steps defining the final pattern of a device feature", said Alois Malzer, product manager of EV Group. " Differing from the sub-micron semiconductor manufacturing, MEMS processes are primarily based on conventional mask aligner exposure (proximity printing) because of low cost, high throughput and the ability to pattern thick resists. The MEMS industry with much shorter product cycles requires a lot of effort for setting up optimal process parameters. Traditionally those parameters such as mask design, resist type, film thickness, light source type/spectrum, exposure dose and proximity gap are optimized by a large number of costly experiments. Due to time and cost limitations optimal process parameters will often not be applied to production resulting in limited yield. Simulation enables optimizing the design and process in short time without "burning" wafers."
"Layout LAB lithography simulation software can significantly reduce the number of experiments and support the process engineer in getting better yield or troubleshooting", said Ulrich Hofmann, founder and general manager of GenISys. "Preliminary investigations with this "virtual lab" allow the user to define the right starting point for potential experiments".
The brand new simulator Layout LAB of GenISys GmbH developed in strong co-operation with EVG is capable of precisely simulating the mask aligner lithography process. The software models the optical system of a mask aligner consisting of light source (shape, wavelength spectrum, light divergence, exposure dose), mask pattern (arbitrary design), and proximity gap to calculate resulting 3D intensity distribution and resist contour on the wafer within seconds. The modular, process flow oriented VisualFlowTM platform combines performance, flexibility and user-friendliness. The printability of a layout can be verified and optimized with a view clicks, New Resolution Enhancement Techniques (RET), OPC (optical proximity correction) structures and phase shift masks can be developed in short time without burning wafers or producing masks.