The movement of true design for manufacturing into the hands of designers is beginning, and Aprio's Halo-Fix tool is a harbinger of more to come. Halo-Fix lets engineers use the results from any lithography rule-checking (LRC) or optical proximity correction (OPC) tools to repair or optimize post-OPC chip layouts.
Until now, post-OPC verification has meant rerunning the entire chip through the mask data-preparation cycle and another round of verification, including LRC across the process window. But Halo-Fix enables users to quickly apply localized OPC to problem areas. This dramatically reduces runtimes. It also leaves undisturbed the portions of the design that have already passed LRC, eliminating the possibility of introducing new errors.
Until now, the use of localized OPC has been been stymied by the difficulty in accounting for the complex interactions between changes in the problem area and the ring, or "halo," of adjacent polygons in the design.
With Aprio's Halo technology, users can place a bounding box on the problem areas and rerun OPC on those areas with OPC settings that are more appropriate for process corners. The mask's problem areas then are stitched seamlessly back into the otherwise unaltered design. The result is a mask that's built with multiple process models and a widened common process window for the full chip.
Available now, time-based licenses for Halo-Fix start at $200,000.