Mask tool promises to cut chip mask costs A new software tool that can reduce the number of masks needed to manufacture ICs leverages a proprietary scheme that prints several mask layers on the same reticle rather than create one mask on each reticle. With this approach, semiconductor manufacturers can achieve significant savings as the cost of mask sets for deep-submicron fabrication exceeds the $1 million mark.
Developed by WaferYield Inc., the WAMA Mask software complements the company's Integrated Global Optimization (iGO) solution, which provides yield, product reliability, and productivity improvements. The tool is scalable and easily customized for steppers from ASML, Nikon, Canon, Ultratech, and other companies.
The software will work with most advanced process geometries. Integrating the software into the process flow doesn't require any change to the manufacturing process. The tool collects and integrates input data from the existing environment to conduct a multidimensional statistic yield analysis. WAMA Mask then generates an optimized wafer map for the stepper and ensures that the reticle array design will avoid manufacturing process problems.
Users can purchase a time-based license for WAMA Mask. Wafer mapping services are also available and priced per product. For details, go to www.waferyield.com or call (408) 732-4885.