Toppan Photomasks, Inc. recently introduced a new DFM tool that will shorten cycle time and reduce risk in chip design through an exception dispositioning process for identifying and analyzing defects and design errors. The tool was developed in collaboration with Anchor Semiconductor Inc. and is an extension of that company’s NanoScope(tm) DFM platform. It allows designers and tapeout engineers to review “exceptions” found during the processing of customer data and masks. “Exceptions” are violations of DFM, MRC, or OPC rules found with data verification techniques or mask defects found with mask inspection techniques.
Customers will be given remote access to the tool through a secure Web portal to review and disposition exceptions as part of Toppan’s enhanced data services offerings, which, in addition to Mask Rules Checking (MRC), include Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) Services.
Toppan plans to deploy the new tool through its Design Services Business immediately in the U.S., and expects to extend it to Europe, Asia and other global markets in the near future.
The new tool is the result of a joint development project with Anchor Semiconductor that began in May 2007 and included modifying the company’s NanoScope product to meet the specific needs of Toppan and its customers.
While photomask suppliers traditionally have provided their customers exception data for review, the typical report format limits the customers’ ability to analyze the defect in context with surrounding data. The additional work and associated uncertainty can delay customer release of the data for mask manufacturing. Toppan’s new tool will provide customers this contextual analysis by utilizing the powerful geometric figure-handling capabilities of the Anchor NanoScope platform. Customers will easily be able to determine the design or lithographic relevance of the exception in question and make informed decisions on whether to repair or waive the exception. In the case of MRC violations, the new tool also enables the customer to review any “do not inspect regions” (DNIRs) proposed to resolve the MRC violations without correcting the pattern data.