SAN FRANCISCO Semiconductor equipment giant KLA-Tencor Corp. and design-for-manufacturing (DFM) vendor Aprio Technologies announced Monday (July 25) that they plan to collaboratively develop an integrated mask design inspection and repair tool.
The announcement of the collaboration comes just two weeks after KT Venture Group, KLA-Tencor's investment arm, invested an undisclosed sum in Aprio.
Aprio's Halo suite of optical proximity correction (OPC) and lithography simulation tools will be incorporated into products under development at KLA-Tencor that address automated mask layout inspection, the companies said. Leveraging Aprio’s Halo suite of manufacturing-side optical proximity correction (OPC) and lithography simulation tools will enable users to quickly accurately repair local mask layout errors identified by KLA-Tencor’s mask layout inspections, Aprio said.
The Halo functionality will be available as an option on the KLA-Tencor products, which will be marketed primarily by KLA-Tencor. The tool is expected to be available next year.
"Partnership is a very important part of Aprio's strategy," said Mike Gianfagna, Aprio president and CEO. "Without strong partnerships with upstream and downstream tool vendors, customers will not get the full benefits of DFM technology."
Halo is designed to enable users to reconfigure an OPC design layout and correct problems without having to re-run the entire OPC generation from scratch by allowing designers to reuse OPC information that already exists. Aprio said Halo can enable up to 30-times faster results in implementing a design change in the mask data.