LONDON Ė EDA firm Synopsys Inc. has joined the maskless lithography research program hosted by CEA-Leti (Grenoble, France).
The Imagine program is designed to develop maskless e-beam lithography around a prototype scanner made by Mapper Lithography NV installed in CEA-Leti's Grenoble lab. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is already a member of the Imagine project and is actively pursuing both extreme ultra-violet (EUV) and maskless e-beam lithography. Synopsys is the tenth industrial partner to join Imagine and will contribute to the definition of data formats to move from design to pixel driving in the Mapper tool, CEA-Leti said.
CEA-Leti and Mapper launched the program in July 2009 with the delivery of Mapper's Massively Parallel Electron Beam Platform to Leti. Other partners include STMicroelectronics and Mentor Graphics.
Imagine provides chip manufacturers with the opportunity to assess maskless lithography technology and allows the development and assessment of accompanying infrastructure from data preparation to process integration. CEA-Leti said maskless e-beam lithography will be introduced into commercial production in 2015.
"Maskless lithography has emerged as a contender for extending IC manufacturing to technology nodes below 15 nanometers," said Fabio Angelillis, vice president engineering of the silicon engineering group at Synopsys, in a statement issued by CEA-Leti.
"One of the key points for the ML2 technology is the ability to handle very large data files, and we will need to quickly establish the proper data format standard," said Serge Tedesco, CEA-Leti program manager. "Having Synopsysí extensive experience in helping define data format and solutions to related issues will be essential to our success."