Carl-Zeiss-Synopsys-collaborate-in-die-registration-metrology-photomask manufacturing

(October 28, 2010) Carl Zeiss SMS GmbH, supplier for photomask metrology and repair tools and Synopsys Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS), software and IP provider for semiconductor design, verification and manufacturing, will collaborate to support the ZEISS tool family for in–die metrology solutions for the 32nm technology node and below. Synopsys will offer support for ZEISS’ PROVE, the next-generation registration metrology tool, through Synopsys’ CATS, the technology-leading mask data preparation solution. Using CATS as the data preparation engine, mask engineers using PROVE can benefit from improved efficiency and usability of a registration metrology system that meets stringent overlay accuracy requirements.

Strong optical proximity correction and double patterning techniques, required to extend 193nm lithography to the next technology nodes, demand greater photomask pattern placement accuracy. The new PROVE system meets these increased demands with its groundbreaking concept of 193nm illumination optics. It delivers an in-die metrology capability for measurement of the smallest production features without placing registration marks, enabling mask makers to measure and analyze registration in critical areas on the mask.

The new CATS module, currently in limited customer availability and generally available in March 2011, enables a fast, efficient and fully automated flow for the setup of photomask metrology jobs. Using the industry standard open formats OASIS.MASK and XML, advanced marking capabilities and the PROVE 2D correlation method, CATS offers a significant enhancement to conventional image analysis schemes. The innovative method compares 2D design clips of the mask provided by CATS with images on the mask captured by PROVE, resulting in higher measurement accuracy compared to standard methods using 1D measurements based on edges only.

"The new CATS module will significantly help to reduce mask registration errors on arbitrary production features," said Dr. Dirk Beyer, product manager for PROVE at Carl Zeiss SMS GmbH.

Registration errors can now be quantified for each mask with no resolution limitations, giving mask manufacturers a completely new tool for reducing placement errors in double patterning and mask-to-mask overlay.

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