DFMSim Debuts Virtual Factory Tool Suite for Semiconductor Manufacturers

Setting new performance standards for design-for-manufacturability (DFM) solutions, industry newcomer, DFMSim launched an innovative class of software tools that enable designers and manufacturers of complex integrated circuits (ICs) to accurately predict and avoid systemic errors that seriously impact manufacturing yields and harm their bottom lines.

The “virtual factory” tool suite blends powerful analysis and process simulation capabilities to enable designers and manufacturers to verify that the manufacturing reality matches their original intent. Already installed at four customer sites on three continents, DFMSim’s technology is delivering remarkable yield improvements to a mix of foundries and fabless semiconductor manufacturers who are tapping the solution to accelerate their yield ramps and speed their time to market.

“It has become too expensive to wait what can be months to find a mistake in the design or manufacturing process of today’s ICs. Such errors can produce systemic yield losses and carry catastrophic cost consequences,” said DFMSim’s chief executive officer, Anantha Sethuraman. “As design rules shrink, the manufacturing challenges only increase, which renders conventional Wait-on-Metrology (WoM) solutions completely insufficient and very expensive. Our approach is to pull the problem back early in the process and then turbo-charge the analysis with the full power of modern computational solutions.”

“Our advanced simulation technology arms engineers with the capabilities to predict manufacturability and yield throughout the entire process flow. With this critical knowledge, they can proceed with confidence along the manufacturing path, assured that the intended yields match the actual output. The result is faster time-to-yield and faster time-to-profit while allowing precious design resources to move on to the next project,” Sethuraman added.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, with an R&D hub in Germany, DFMSim was established in 2005 to provide a better class of DFM solutions for designers and manufacturers of cutting-edge ICs. Since breaching the subwavelength barrier, chipmakers have deployed myriad DFM technologies as a vital process enabler and critical yield-enhancer. And while the approaches have evolved considerably, most still fall short of meeting chipmakers’ ease-of-use, performance and ROI requirements.

DFMSim’s unique “virtual factory” approach resolves the shortfall while delivering unmatched performance and cost advantages. In a simple easy-to-use package, the technology efficiently pinpoints a problem area in critical process steps that previously could only be identified through a costly and tedious correlation of unrelated software programs.

A New-generation DFM Tool Suite
DFMSim offers four key products connected through a framework of more than 300 modules that can be rapidly configured for various design and manufacturing processes and tools. These products and services are based on difficult-to-replicate, multi-disciplinary, knowledge-intensive technologies and data-intensive information, including a proprietary library of mathematical algorithms simulating various processes based on data developed and accumulated by the company.

The product suite includes:

  • A Process Expert Engineering Toolbox that enables a graphic view of manufacturing process parameters and run analysis with solutions available in hours rather than weeks.
  • An Overlay Analyzer that analyzes production data and provides feed-back and feed-forward control.
  • A Critical Dimension Analyzer that analyzes critical dimensions and calculates process recipes needed to hit target precision, then uses production data to ensure that processes like critical lithography steps are optimized across thousands of chips and multiple production runs.

The company also offers a powerful simulation engine which can rapidly match the best process capability to the optimal design for manufacturability.

The DFMSim management team is augmented by a strategic advisory board comprised of notable representatives of the IC value chain. The board includes: Thomas Caulfield, Ph.D., executive vice president at Novellus Systems; Bert Bruggeman, vice president, operations and general manager of the Silicon Valley Technology Center; Sunil Tomar, president and CEO of Brillus, Inc.; Ravi Varadarajan, fellow at Atrenta; Alan Weber, president of Alan Weber & Associates; and Raul Camposano, CEO of Xoomsys, Inc.

About DFMSim
DFMSim provides advanced enabling software solutions to the global semiconductor industry. The company’s technology simulates key IC design and processing steps to quickly find and avoid systemic defects that threaten yields and increase manufacturing costs. DFMSim’s solutions are versatile, modular, easy to use and can be rapidly configured for various manufacturing processes and tools. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the company maintains R&D, sales and support offices in multiple global locations.