Coventor updates SEMulator3D software for semiconductor and MEMS processes

March 7, 2011 — Coventor Inc., software supplier for developing micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), announced availability of SEMulator3D 2011, the latest version of its virtual fabrication software for semiconductor and MEMS process development organizations. It includes the debut of SEMulator3D Reader.

SEMulator3D is already in use by semiconductor companies, MEMS integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), and MEMS foundries for tasks ranging from process integration and documentation of advanced logic and memory process nodes to MEMS design verification.

The SEMulator3D 2011 release provides a three-fold performance boost in model building time and new robust 3D mesh generation capabilities that create silicon-accurate meshes for physics-based simulations used to optimize the performance and manufacturability of semiconductor and MEMS devices. In addition, Coventor is providing the first release of SEMulator3D Reader, a downloadable interactive 3D model viewer that will streamline communications among process development team members and with suppliers and customers.

The release of SEMulator3D 2011 offers 3D virtual fabrication for existing process integration and documentation applications, as well as emerging applications, including novel semiconductor processes, non-destructive metrology, and highly integrated MEMS+CMOS processes.

SEMulator3D’s new mesh generation capability means that device simulations are no longer limited to idealized device models. Surface and volume meshes can be exported to finite element analysis (FEA) and TCAD simulation tools in multiple industry-standard formats, including ans (Ansys), dxf, obj, and unv formats. The meshes are of uniform quality and density suitable for simulation of many physical domains, including mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetics, in addition to coupled physics such as electromechanics.

The new SEMulator3D Reader is a full-featured 3D viewer that uses a compact file format designed for portability. It enables process development and foundry service teams to easily share 3D device models that convey far more information than the static screenshot images or PowerPoint slides typically used to communicate with colleagues or customers. Users are able to interact directly with the models to manipulate the 3D view, see a cross section at any location, toggle visibility of layers, and animate the fabrication process. Comments and annotations can be added for each process step to further streamline communications and documentation throughout the entire development cycle. A downloadable version of the SEMulator3D Reader is immediately available with online access to a variety of sample semiconductor and MEMS 3D models.

"IBM uses Coventor’s SEMulator3D to emulate advanced FEOL, MOL and BEOL integrated processes, with specific attention to 22nm technology and beyond. SEMulator3D allows modeling of a complete process sequence and creates realistic 3D models that can be shared with colleagues. The process/layout editor tools allow development and calibration of a process emulation and expands our understanding of the resulting structures to a variety of layouts," said David Fried, 22nm chief technologist at IBM. "With this capability, our visibility into the full technology implication of process selections and changes has been improved. SEMulator3D has helped IBM predict problems that otherwise would only have been found by subsequent testing and physical failure analysis."

"IMEC uses SEMulator3D for process documentation and design verification. Our SiGeMEMS-above-IC technology allows product developers to monolithically integrate MEMS devices with CMOS circuits, enabling new applications and reduced form factors. By providing SEMulator3D process files with our PDK, we enable designers to verify manufacturability of their designs before tape-out for fabrication. Using SEMulator3D, we can ensure that designers receive the accurate and complete process information they require," commented Stephane Donnay, Ph.D., CMORE program manager at IMEC.

Coventor profiled customer test cases to identify steps that required the most computing time, and then optimized the algorithms and implemented parallel processing support (making use of multi-core CPUs) to achieve performance gains of 3 to 4x over the previous release. SEMulator3D 2011 is more than three times faster for a 25nm flash memory application. In addition, the tool now detects incremental changes to the process description and automatically re-builds only subsequent process steps, saving on average 50% or more in model development time.

"SEMulator3D is our tool…for experimenting with new technologies and ideas," said Thomas Ostermann, staff engineer, Power Technology Development, Automotive Power at Infineon Technologies Austria AG. "We also use SEMulator3D to create 3D cross sections for documentation and training of new colleagues. The ability to generate 3D pictures and animations makes it much easier to explain a process."

Coventor Inc. makes automated design products for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and virtual fabrication of MEMS and semiconductor devices. More information is available at

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