Reticle enhancement technology will extend life of 193nm litho, says CEO

EW News 25/02/2004 – Reticle enhancement technology will extend life of 193nm litho, says CEO
Reticle enhancement technology will extend life of 193nm litho, says CEO Richard Ball
Reticle enhancement technology (RET) will save the chip industry hundreds of millions of dollars by extending the life of 193nm lithography, according to Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO at Mentor Graphics.
Rhines goes further than others by suggesting RET can take 193nm lasers beyond 65nm feature sizes. It might even be able to do 35nm or even 20nm, he told Electronics Weekly.
Lithography at 193nm was expected to end with 90nm features, but RET such as optical proximity correction and phase shift masks will extend its life.
Intel has stated it will take 193nm lithography as far as the 45nm node.
It may require immersion, which gives you an index of refraction greater than one, said Rhines. Pushing 193nm lasers even further, Rhines pointed out, will save IC companies the high cost of installing 157nm equipment.
A 193nm stepper costs $20m, a 157nm stepper is $50m, Rhines said.
With multiple steppers and associated equipment used in each fab, the potential savings are significant.EDA tools for RET are provided, in the main, by Mentor and Synopsys and come into the ‘design for manufacturing’ (DfM) category. Rhines said this type of tool accounted for ten per cent of Mentor’s latest revenues.
The DfM sector is already worth $250m to $300m, said Rhines. This year RET alone is $100m.
DfM’s potentially huge value to chipmakers means it can quite easily reach $2bn to $3bn in revenue, he said. DfM will be EDA’s next big growth area, Rhines added, keeping EDA on its traditional 12 to 13 per cent growth line.

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