Electronic Design

Reconfigurable OPC Tool Revamps ECOs And Re-spins

At process geometries of 90 nm and below, IC yield is virtually impossible to achieve without optical proximity correction (OPC). But runtimes for OPC tools become very lengthy at 90 nm. Furthermore, design modifications that require quick changes to mask data (engineering change orders, or ECOs) come fast and furious at the end of a design cycle, and each can trigger a new OPC run.

A "second generation" of OPC tools (at least that's what some call it) has an early arrival from startup Aprio Technologies. Aprio's Halo suite of design-for-manufacturing (DFM) tools achieves two prime objectives. First, the tools radically slash OPC runtimes for full-chip OPC applications. Second, they introduce the concept of reconfigurable OPC, which enables the tools to apply OPC to isolated, local areas for implementation of ECOs. The suite comprises three tools: Halo-OPC, Halo-Sim, and Halo-Cal.

Unlike existing OPC tools, Halo-OPC takes in the original drawn layout for a design as well as an existing OPC result along with a revised drawn layout. It lets users establish bounding boxes to delineate areas that will be changed and to rerun OPC for that area alone rather than on the entire design. Full-chip performance is typically three times faster than existing OPC tools.

Halo-Sim is a simulator for full-chip or reconfigured-area silicon. Thanks to both tools' reliance on Aprio's Trinity data model, Halo-Sim closely interacts with Halo-OPC to reduce simulation times to a fraction of other tools' runtimes.

Halo-Cal is a calibration tool for Halo-OPC and Halo-Sim. Users can produce models that mimic the results from previously qualified OPC tools.

Available now, time-based licenses for the Halo suite start at $380,000. The tools run on 32- and 64-bit Solaris and Linux platforms.

Aprio Technologies Inc.

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