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UMC to use ASML MaskTools scattering-bar technology in manufacturing World s largest FPGA

ASML Netherlands B.V. : 01 August, 2000  (New Product)
ASML MaskTools today announced that UMC, a leading semiconductor foundry, has licensed ASML MaskTools optical extension technology for manufacturing advanced semiconductors with 150nm design rules.
The licensing agreement covers the purchase of ASML MaskTools MaskRiggerTM software as well as a technology license for UMC to use ASML MaskTools patented scattering-bar technology with any third-party software. The enhanced application meets UMC's requirements for processing the Xilinx XCV3200ETM, the world's highest density field programmable gate array semiconductor chips.

'This licensing agreement meets UMC's production needs for Xilinx's next-generation chips that are built on our 150nm copper-interconnect process and will contain over 200 million transistors and three million system gates,' said Peter Huang, lithography department director at UMC. 'Process latitude increases significantly with the use of ASML MaskTools scattering-bar technology, which allows quicker yield maturity of next-generation process technologies. This superior software and optical extension technology will be a strong tool for UMC as we further extend our capabilities in sub-wavelength photolithography technology.'

The relationship between UMC and ASML MaskTools began 18 months ago, when ASML MaskTools provided a scattering-bar reticle to demonstrate its technology's capabilities at 250nm and 180nm design rules. During the demonstration period, ASML MaskTools and its Taiwanese representative Grand Technology Inc. provided technical support on all issues and assisted in qualifying a local Taiwanese photomask shop in manufacturing scattering-bar masks.

A key benefit of ASML MaskTools technology is the larger process window provided by the scattering bars (subresolution design elements placed by MaskRigger software) on the photomask. The scattering bars act as 'diffraction matching' elements on standard binary photomasks, which enable the optimization of the total imaging process without the use of expensive alternating phase shift masks. Furthermore, the technology can be implemented on many layers of the manufacturing flow, not just the gate layer. This results in much tighter critical dimension control on all layers of circuit designs which are pushed to the limits of manufacturing. The technology becomes crucial on the 150nm generation and below, as a way to extend the life of the installed base of 248nm manufacturing equipment.

'Xilinx gets significantly more high-speed parts using ASML MaskTools scattering-bar technology, adding even greater value to UMC's world class technology and foundry services,' said Daniel Gitlin, senior director of technology development for Xilinx Advanced Products Group.

'This software and technology licensing agreement provides UMC with the flexibility to implement with our own software products or other advanced EDA software,' said Doug Marsh, president of ASML MaskTools. 'Our technology is the most advanced in the industry and we are proud to be a key enabler of UMC's next-generation manufacturing technology.'

ASML MaskTools policy is that each fab that wishes to make and use photomasks containing ASML MaskTools scattering-bar IP should obtain a technology license from ASML MaskTools. The license can be obtained either by purchasing ASML MaskTools software, MaskRigger, or by purchasing an unbundled technology license for use with third-party software, such as Mentor Graphics (r) Calibre(r) software. The scattering-bar technology license is sold exclusively by ASML MaskTools.
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