SAN FRANCISCO Stone Pillar Technologies Inc. plans to introduce a new version of its software tool suite Monday (June 27).
Version 4.0 of the Stone Pillar Suite, which the company says can provide semiconductor manufacturing and design engineers with insight into design-for-manufacturability (DFM) issues from the early-stages of development, features a number of enhancements over previous versions.
Stone Pillar, which was founded in 1999, worked closely with a small set of customers throughout its early years to refine its technology and gain a deeper understanding of what was needed in the marketplace, according to Tim Crandle, Stone Pillar president. Over the past year, the company has been making a push to market its suite to a broader audience, Crandle said.
Crandle said while the current DFM focus is mainly geared toward things like improving optical proximity correction (OPC) implementation, he believes that companies will seek to harness more information to improve yields. Stone Pillar Suite has primarily been used by customers during the technology development stage, but Crandle believes customers can utilize the same information captured by his company's tools at the early stages to apply to DFM methodologies down the road.
"I don't like to pump up DFM too much because I think its kind of the buzzword of the year," Crandle said. "But I think in a lot of ways our products address the problems that people talk about when they talk about DFM."
Crandle said he believes a lot of the newly established DFM companies are still trying to define what they do and where they fit in.
A new version of Stone Pillar's TestChipBuilder, one component of the suite, adds improved support for collaboration by test chip development teams. Object-oriented capabilities now available within TestChipBuilder enable the creation of shared libraries that can be used by entire test chip development teams. The new version also provides process mapping to allow parameterized devices to be used across different process technologies.
National Semiconductor Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.) said last month that it reduced engineering effort for test flow creation by 90 percent by adopting TestPlanManager, a component of the Stone Pillar Suite that provides intelligent automated test flow creation including algorithm library management, procedure scaling and GUI-based capabilities for applying tests to test chips.
The Stone Pillar suite also includes:
DeviceTargetManager provides a GUI-driven utility for documenting, storing, version controlling and sign-off for supported devices and target parameter values
Layout Viewer offers an integrated visual test structure reference capability, linked to experimental or other data
DesignRuleBuilder enables rapid, automated calculation, generation and documentation of layout design rules
ProcessFlowManager enables review of process flow details in a hierarchical viewer that provides scalable levels of detail for process steps
ExperimentBuilder enables the rapid definition of split lot experiments with reference to a baseline process flow
DataAnalyzer provides rapid data analysis, including spreadsheet, scatter plots, box plots and timelines of parameter drift
ReportGenerator automates standard report generation
Version 4.0 enhancements include:
Improved support for collaboration by test chip development teams
through shared libraries
Process mapping to allow parameterized devices to be used across
different process technologies
Support for Keithley test equipment
The ability to generate test plans for multiple test systems from a single set of user inputs
Capabilities for process flow management through recipe library support
Floating licenses for Stone Pillar Suite version 4.0 are available as either term or perpetual licenses, for either single locations or worldwide. Tools in Stone Pillar Suite are licensed separately, with prices for individual tools ranging from $10,000 to $175,000.
Stone Pillar is privately held and based in Santa Clara.