E-beam supplier Vistec,
along with semiconductor research group CEA/Leti, and emerging design and software
company D2S, today announced a collaboration focused on refining and validating
advanced design-for-e-beam (DFEB) solutions for the 45- and 32-nm nodes. Over
the next 12 months, CEA/Leti will manufacture test chips using a combination
of D2S' advanced DFEB design and software capabilities and latest high-resolution
e-beam direct-write (EbDW) lithography equipment from Vistec. The goal of this
collaboration is to print 45- and 32-nm circuits using Vistec Electron Beam's
SB3054 system installed at CEA/Leti.
High speed, low cost
Driving the need for this joint effort is the ever-rising cost of semiconductor
masks, which is making low-volume production of custom ICs economically infeasible.
Using an e-beam tool to directly write patterns onto a wafer has always been
the most accurate way to pattern a semiconductor wafer; however, low throughput
using a traditional variable shaped beam (VSB) approach has limited its application.
By efficiently employing character or cell projection (CP) technology to re-write
the throughput rules around EbDW, the DFEB solution virtually eliminates the
cost of masks and can speed time to market by shortening the design-to-lithography
D2S' proprietary DFEB solution encourages and isolates the most commonly
recurring patterns of chip designs and translates them into templates on “mini-reticles”.
A prepared set of templates on a mini-reticle then allows these complex patterns
to be replicated in a single shot on a wafer. This is accomplished using Vistec's
SB3054 tool utilizing CP technology. By reducing a design's required shot
count, this approach improves throughput over VSB while enhancing accuracy.
Solutions for a new production paradigm
“Ever increasing mask costs are presenting numerous challenges in the
semiconductor industry”, said Aki Fujimura, founder and chief executive
officer of D2S. “Combining EbDW with CP provides a low-risk, low-cost
path to a new production paradigm. Producers of high value, low-volume devices
will be the beneficiaries of this joint effort to validate direct-write-e-beam
solutions at leading edge technology nodes—thanks in part to our DFEB
ecosystem partners, CEA/Leti and Vistec”.
Laurent Pain, lithography laboratory manager at CEA/Leti, stated, “DFEB
is an innovative, new approach to the old problem of boosting e-beam throughput
while enhancing accuracy. We are looking forward to this collaboration to validate
accuracy and throughput goals at the 45- and 32-nm nodes using the Vistec SB3054
system in tandem with D2S' advanced DFEB solution.”
“We see the integrated CP functionality and DFEB software as a bridge
between the high-resolution requirements of advanced R&D and the challenging
throughput expectations driven by industrial prototyping applications,”
said Wolfgang Dorl, general manager at Vistec Electron Beam. “The CP feature
is available today from Vistec and was recently installed at CEA/Leti to enable
this collaboration and research.”