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New agreement combines expertise in imaging equipment, software and advanced processes

ASML Netherlands B.V. : 14 July, 2007  (New Product)
In a move to eliminate the growing gap between semiconductor design and sub-wavelength manufacturing, ASML MaskTools, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASML, and Mentor Graphics Corporation have signed a collaborative agreement.
This agreement combines expertise in imaging equipment, software and advanced processes to create a total integrated process solution-now required for silicon success at sub-wavelength geometries-enabling semiconductor customers to accelerate their deep submicron technology roadmap and chip yield. It also marks the first agreement between an advanced imaging solution provider, ASML, and a leading electronic design automation company, Mentor Graphics.

Today, as IC geometries shrink below half the wavelength of light at 0.13 micron and beyond, full-chip manufacturability verification and optical extension techniques are now becoming critical components in semiconductor production to realize acceptable chip yields. Optical extension techniques, such as optical proximity correction, phase shift masks, scattering bars, and off-axis illumination, are required to extend optical lithography into what had previously been considered the domain of next-generation lithography.

Mentor Graphics, MaskTools and ASML will address this need for full-chip manufacturability verification using multiple optical process extensions by leveraging their areas of expertise. ASML brings its intellectual property, advanced imaging systems, research facilities and years of silicon manufacturability experience perfecting scattering bar techniques. Mentor Graphics brings its Calibre(r) tool suite, the industry standard for physical verification and manufacturability-and specifically its Calibre OPCproTM, Calibre PSMgateTM and its silicon versus layout verification tools, Calibre ORCTM and Calibre PRINTimageTM. Together, both companies combined strengths will offer the fastest available, accurate full-chip modeling and correction of the fabrication process, including the effects of mask production, advanced imaging, and resist and etch effects.

'With this alliance, we are not only extending the life of optical lithography, we are creating a new market, the manufacturability verification market,' said Doug Marsh, president of ASML MaskTools. 'This market includes the majority of customers in both the EDA world and in the semiconductor fabrication business. Together, ASML MaskTools and Mentor Graphics are providing a total manufacturability solution for today's optical and tomorrow's next-generation lithographies.'

'By combining ASML's advanced manufacturing expertise with Calibre's deeply integrated physical verification and sub-wavelength manufacturability technologies of OPC and PSM,' said Brian Derrick, general manager of Mentor's Physical and Static Verification Division, 'our alliance delivers the industry's most advanced, easiest to use IC layout to silicon verification manufacturability flow. We re looking forward to working with ASML at their U.S. Technology Development Center to optimize our software with photoresists, masks, illumination sources and lens designs to deliver a complete manufacturability solution for our joint customers.'
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