Electronic Design

A Window Into Printed Silicon Brings Design And Manufacturing Closer

Since 2003, Aprio has strived to link the disciplines of design and manufacturing. With the launch of a new application called Halo-Quest, Aprio has moved closer to a unified approach that brings foundry data into the design world. It also feeds design data forward into manufacturing.

Halo-Quest is designed to be incorporated into other tools. It delivers what Aprio has termed the "DFM View" of designs, which is, in essence, an accurate physical representation of the design as it would print in silicon.

The DFM View, derived from a GDSII input, has three variants (see the figure). One, the contour view, accurately represents the printed image. A second variant, the rectilinear view, is intended for interfacing with electrical-characterization tools. The third variant, the hot-spot view, provides error vectors that identify potential lithographic errors.

Halo-Quest already is being rolled out as components of third-party tools. Silicon Canvas's Laker suite of layout tools uses it to see and repair lithography errors. Aprio also has worked with Pyxis Technology to integrate Halo-Quest into its DFM router. This effort takes advantage of Halo-Quest's use of the OpenAccess interoperability standard.

And, Aprio has collaborated on incorporating the DFM View into KLA-Tencor's DesignScan tool to quickly and accurately apply localized optical-proximity correction (OPC) repairs to problem areas identified by DesignScan.

In all cases, Halo-Quest's incremental capabilities provide for reuse of OPC results and lithography data. Halo-Quest initially performs an overnight analysis that does lithography simulation and saves the results. Subsequently, when changes are made, analysis is rerun only on the portions that have been altered.

Initial versions of tools incorporating Halo-Quest are expected to ship in the fourth quarter.

Aprio Technologies Inc.

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