SAN JOSE--PDF Solutions Inc. here announced a new yield-improvement technology package for fabless semiconductor companies to help them quickly make design changes in products without impacting the supply of devices coming from silicon foundries.
The new Design-Based Yield Improvement (DBYI) package is being made available for 0.15- and 0.13-micron process technologies. It is based on PDF's methodology for simulating the interactions between IC design tools and manufacturing processes, said company managers.
San Jose-based PDF Solutions said DBYI technology is built on detailed process characterization and design evaluation capabilities to produce comprehensive, design feature-based analysis of contributors to wafer fab yields. PDF uses proprietary test chips--called Universal Characterization Vehicles (UCV)--to calibrate feature-based yield and statistical Spice models for a selected foundry processes. The company then applies these models in its yield and performance simulation software tools.
This software enables fabless semiconductor companies to quickly implement design-change orders, based on quantitative tradeoffs of various yield contributors, according to PDF. A fabless chip company can use also this information to maximize manufacturability of products in selected foundry processes before production starts, said PDF.
"All IC makers are keenly aware that modifying IC designs to be compatible with the most advanced process and ramping to profitable yield quickly are critical issues," noted John Kibarian, president and CEO of PDF. "But for a fabless chip maker manufacturing a new IC design at a foundry, information vital to effectively integrate process and design is not readily available." He said the new DBYI technology will help fabless companies "understand process characteristics and to optimize their product designs for maximum yield and performance."
"The challenges of achieving the best match between design and process become even more pronounced for technology nodes of 0.13 microns and below, because the specific process-design interactions introduced by new materials and process technologies for deep sub-micron ICs are not easily understood or addressed," Kibarian said. "By improving design-process compatibility, PDF's DBYI technology accelerates production schedules and maximizes product yield and performance."