LONDON GenISys has started sampling to designers of MEMS based devices, sensors and flat panel displays a flexible simulation platform for mask aligner lithography that lets them virtually model, redesign and optimize device layouts and processes in hours rather than weeks.
The company says that this "virtual lab" approach to MEMS will also lower costs, increase yields and shorten time-to-market, as is the case for ICs.
Dubbed Layout Lab, the platform enables flexible design and modeling of processes including mask layout, exposure tool, process parameters, accurate 3-D aerial image and resist contour calculation. With a database-driven architecture, Layout LAB lets developers store predefined functional modules and create, store and quickly retrieve their own custom process flows.
"In today’s MEMS industry, there is tremendous process variability, which, in conjunction with increasingly narrow process margins, requires a dedicated simulation environment. In contrast to IC manufacturing, where projection lithography is the standard, MEMS processes primarily use proximity lithography. Simulation software for MEMS applications needs to model mask aligners, larger layouts and also thick resist layers," said Nezih Unal, vice president of marketing and sales of GenISys (Munich, Germany.
Unal adds that unlike with the more standardized IC manufacturing processes, MEMS production involves a large variety of non-standard processes in the production lines. So there is a greater need to develop, optimize and verify each device production step and manage the processes in the line. And there is correspondingly greater pressure to perform these steps as quickly and non-disruptively as possible.
"When implementing critical designs from customers, MEMS manufacturers have two alternatives," commented Holger Lerch, manager of optical lithography at AMO GmbH in Aachen, Germany. "One is to order the expensive mask set, then wait two weeks, wasting resist and machine uptime and reducing production capacity in the process."
The other option now, Lerch says, is to use Layout LAB to verify printability in minutes and then make process and layout adjustments before ordering the mask-set.