LONDON The eBeam Initiative, a forum for the promotion of chip manufacturing using e-beam lithography, has said that two of its leading members Direct2Silicon Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) and Advantest Corp. (Tokyo, Japan), have collaborated to enhance throughput.
The aim is to make maskless system-on-chips (SoCs) feasible for prototypes and low-volume designs. Specifically, D2S has introduced its design for e-beam (DFEB) packed stencil technology, which works in conjunction with Advantest's e-beam direct write (EbDW) lithography equipment. D2S' packed stencil technology increases the number of characters available for a given layer, which in turn, reduces e-beam shot count.
The characters on a stencil mask are co-designed with a DFEB standard cell library overlay so that any design using that library will have a matching stencil mask in the EbDW machine. The stencil mask on the EbDW machine allows these complex patterns to be written on the wafer in a single shot, achieving an order-of-magnitude improvement in EbDW write times, the companies said.
The packed stencil technology lays out the characters on the stencil mask to pack more in the same space than was previously possible. By co-designing the DFEB overlay library along with the stencil mask, D2S can customize the placement of the characters on a stencil mask. The number of characters available in a character block for writing any given layer of a design increases substantially, making DFEB more effective and allowing the direct writing of wafers to be faster.
Advantest and D2S have worked together on implementing the packed stencil for the Advantest EbDW equipment and enhanced the number of characters available from the Advantest equipment from 100 to more than 250, an improvement by a factor of 2.5. The collaboration further resulted in the Advantest EbDW equipment improving the number of character blocks per stencil mask from 12 to 20. The net increase in the number of characters available on a stencil mask goes from 1,200 to 5,000, or more than a factor of four.
Haruo Matsuno, president of Advantest, stated, "In collaboration with D2S, Advantest is now able to offer a viable e-beam direct-write solution with dramatically enhanced throughput. This technological leap forward quadruples the characters available to our F3000 lithography tool, vastly improving its throughput over what was previously possible. We look forward to furthering our relationship with D2S as we continue to enhance the effectiveness of our e-beam direct-write solutions for the low-volume high-mix SoC business, among other applications."
Related links and articles:
German startup joins e-beam initiative
65-nm test chip said to validate design-for-e-beam
Initiative forms around e-beam direct write