DALLAS --Texas Instruments Inc. will use phase-shifting photomask technology from Numerical Technologies Inc. to help it boost the performance of digital signal processors by five times in the next five years. On Monday, TI will announce it is licensing NumeriTech's iN-Phase design tools to produce masks for 0.13-micron drawn feature sizes on next-generation DSP chips.
TI plans to release its 0.13-micron CMOS process technology into production during the first half of 2001. The phase-shifting mask technology will enable TI to produce those 0.13-micron devices with existing photolithography tools, helping to reduce the cost and accelerate availability of more powerful DSPs on the market.
"Phase-shifting technology and tools play a critical role in reaching TI's performance goals," said Dennis Buss, manager of analog technology development and vice president of silicon technology development at TI. The Dallas company aims to increase the processing speed of DSP instructions per second by five times in the next five years and 25 times by 2010, according to TI's digital signal processing roadmap.
San Jose-based NumeriTech initially developed the capabilities in its iN-Phase software while working with Motorola Inc. to create an automated tool for phase-shifting mask designs and subwavelength lithography processes (see story from SBN magazine, Feb. 1, 1999). Last spring, NumeriTech launched iN-Phase as a commercial product with a half dozen companies planning to use the phase-shifting technology to accelerate device shrinks by producing gate sizes smaller than the wavelength of light from exposure tools (see May 3, 1999, story).
Last month, NumeriTech announced the "Stepper Alliance Program" to enhance compatibility between advanced photolithography equipment and the company's photomask software, which supports the extension of optical tools with subwavelength exposure techniques. Joining the alliance were Canon USA, Silicon Valley Group (SVG) Lithography, and Ultratech Stepper (see Feb. 29 story).
"TI's commitment to use iN-Phase is an indication of the products' readiness for the market," said Y.C. (Buno) Pati, president and CEO of NumeriTech.