KLA-Tencor, Aprio to collaborate on advanced mask design inspection and repair tools

July 25, 2005 KLA-Tencor and Aprio Technologies today announced their intent to collaborate on the development of an integrated advanced mask design inspection and repair tool. Both companies assert that this partnership will encourage better collaboration between their customers’ design and manufacturing teams. As part of this collaboration, Aprio will provide new functionality to products under development at KLA-Tencor that address automated mask layout inspection.

Initial availability of an integrated product from KLA-Tencor and Aprio is expected in 2006.

By leveraging Aprio’s Halo suite of manufacturing-side optical proximity correction (OPC) and lithography simulation tools, users will be able to quickly and accurately repair local mask layout errors identified by KLA-Tencor’s mask layout inspections. Unlike first-generation OPC tools, Halo enables users to reconfigure an OPC design layout to correct problems and achieve optimal results without having to re-run the entire OPC generation from scratch — by allowing designers to reuse OPC information that already exists. As a result, Halo can enable up to 30-times faster results in implementing a design change in the mask data.

“Our customers that are moving to the 65nm process node can no longer afford to wait to find design issues in the manufacturing process,” said Harold Lehon, vice president of DFM solutions at KLA-Tencor. “KLA-Tencor and Aprio share similar views on the most optimal way to link the design and manufacturing domains, and we’re pleased to be working with an EDA company that is making real inroads into both sides of the tape-out wall.”

“We are delighted to join forces with KLA-Tencor, the recognized industry leader in reticle inspection technology,” said Mike Gianfagna, president and chief executive officer of Aprio Technologies. “Aprio’s innovative approach to incremental and hierarchical mask data processing dovetails perfectly with KLA-Tencor’s DFM strategy. Our combined efforts will provide a new-to-the- industry capability for our customers.”


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