Toppan Photomasks, Anchor Semiconductor Announce DFM Tool

Toppan Photomasks, Inc. introduced a new DFM tool that will shorten cycle time and reduce risk in chip design through an exception dispositioning process for identifying and analyzing defects and design errors. The tool was developed in collaboration with Anchor Semiconductor Inc. and is an extension of that company’s NanoScope(tm) DFM platform. It allows designers and tapeout engineers to review “exceptions” found during the processing of customer data and masks. “Exceptions” are violations of DFM, MRC, or OPC rules found with data verification techniques or mask defects found with mask inspection techniques.

Customers will be given remote access to the tool through a secure Web portal to review and disposition exceptions as part of Toppan’s enhanced data services offerings, which, in addition to Mask Rules Checking (MRC), include Optical Proximity Correction (OPC) Services.

“This addition to our DFM capabilities is a significant enabling component for Toppan and our customers, as we continue to ramp our design services offerings,” said Franklin Kalk, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Toppan Photomasks. “Our customers want an integrated cost effective solution that encompasses design, mask and lithography with superior cycle time. Toppan already is the leading merchant design services provider in Japan with the Toppan Technical Design Center, and this new capability will help the company further integrate the mask offering with our design service support.”

Toppan plans to deploy the new tool through its Design Services Business immediately in the U.S., and expects to extend it to Europe, Asia and other global markets in the near future.

“This design services tool also has the capability to link into the leading-edge design needs of customers pursuing advanced lithography solutions at 65nm and below at Toppan’s leading-edge factories globally,” Kalk said.

The new tool is the result of a joint development project with Anchor Semiconductor that began in May 2007 and included modifying the company’s NanoScope product to meet the specific needs of Toppan and its customers.

“We are extremely pleased that our successful collaboration with the world’s premier photomask maker has helped Toppan reduce design risk and shorten cycle time for its global customer base — and to offer its customers significant competitive advantages,” said Dr. Chenmin Hu, the CEO of Anchor Semiconductor. “It is a natural extension of pattern-centric core technologies that we developed on the NanoScope platform. We are seeing a growing demand for DFM tools that can directly help to identify patterning related manufacturing defects quickly. We will continue to work with Toppan and expand the NanoScope applications in this area.”

While photomask suppliers traditionally have provided their customers exception data for review, the typical report format limits the customers’ ability to analyze the defect in context with surrounding data. The additional work and associated uncertainty can delay customer release of the data for mask manufacturing. Toppan’s new tool will provide customers this contextual analysis by utilizing the powerful geometric figure-handling capabilities of the Anchor NanoScope platform. Customers will easily be able to determine the design or lithographic relevance of the exception in question and make informed decisions on whether to repair or waive the exception. In the case of MRC violations, the new tool also enables the customer to review any “do not inspect regions” (DNIRs) proposed to resolve the MRC violations without correcting the pattern data.

About Anchor Semiconductor
Founded in late 2000 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Anchor Semiconductor, Inc. is a pioneer and technology leader in semiconductor DFM software products for understanding and optimizing layout-to-silicon pattern transfer. The integrated pattern-centric NanoScope(tm) DFM platform is uniquely capable of providing solutions to the patterning challenges in semiconductor design hot-spot checking, OPC and OPC verification, photomask making, silicon wafer printing and defect inspection. Using Anchor’s tools, customers have successfully shortened time-to-yield and time-to-profitability.

About Toppan Printing
Founded in 1900, Toppan Printing has branched into seven diverse business fields, including security cards, commercial printing, publications printing, packaging, industrial materials, electronics and optronics. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007, Toppan posted revenues of ¥1,557,8 billion (more than US$13 billion), and ended the year with approximately 36,000 employees.

About Toppan Photomasks
Toppan Photomasks, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., a diversified global company with revenue in excess of $13 billion in fiscal 2007. Toppan Photomasks is part of the Toppan Group of photomask companies. As the world’s premier photomask provider, the Toppan Group operates the industry’s most advanced and largest network of manufacturing facilities and offers a comprehensive range of photomask technologies and research and development capabilities to meet the increasingly sophisticated and divergent product-and-service requirements of the global semiconductor industry. Toppan Photomasks is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas.

NanoScope is a trademark of Anchor Semiconductor, Inc.