August 8, 2006 – Brion Technologies and Dainippon Printing have signed a joint development program to combine their technologies into a system that can simulate and verify photomask pattern data prior to the printing of the wafer.
The ultimate goal of the partnership is to develop a system that can simulate the actual printed image on a wafer based on imported photomask data from IC makers, in order to fabricate high-precision, high-quality masks free of defects and circuit faults. Brion’s Tachyon system has been installed at DNP’s facility in Japan as part of the collaboration.
IC makers typically add corrective patterns to designs such as optical proximity correction (OPC) to overcome physical limits of photolithography systems, but OPC patterns for 65nm-and below processes are complex enough that they create problems when printing. Therefore, the companies explained, it’s important to do simulation and verification on the photolithography process to predict how the corrective OPC patterns on the photomask will be transferred to the wafers during printing.
“Photomask making from this point forward should be based on full knowledge of photolithography process characteristics,” stated Naoya Hayashi, director of the research and develop lab for DNP’s Electronic Device Division. “The Brion system, with its high-precision simulation capability, will no doubt prove effective in providing us with that data.”