Full-Chip Mask Synthesis 

Proteus provides a comprehensive and powerful environment for performing full-chip proximity correction, building models for correction, and analyzing proximity effects on corrected and uncorrected IC layout patterns. Proteus mask synthesis products (Figure 1) are the tools of choice for leading edge IDMs and foundries and have been production-proven for over a decade.

Proteus Pipeline Technology provides a fully concurrent tapeout flow for maximum CPU utilization and is a major departure from serial manufacturing flows, in which a complete post-optical proximity correction (OPC) database must be available before the latter applications can be initiated. Using a dual-domain simulation engine which combines the strength of field-based simulation and flash-based simulation, Proteus delivers the most accurate OPC results and fastest turnaround time for both dense and sparse designs. Proteus’ programmability and modularized applications provide optimal flexibility while ensuring protection of valuable customer IP.

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  • Production-proven performance and superior quality of results
  • Fully pipelined tapeout flow to efficiently utilize expensive hardware resources
  • The most accurate, easy to use, and flexible modeling environment
  • Production-proven comprehensive suite of RET applications
  • Proteus LRC next-generation lithography verification
  • Sentaurus Lithography rigorous simulation interfaces within Proteus manufacturing tools
  • Best cost of ownership through the use of optimized general purpose hardware
  • Core technology uniquely connects manufacturing information to design

Figure 1: Proteus: Full-chip mask synthesis suite

Production-proven Performance and Superior Quality of Results
Dual-domain simulation allows for the flexibility to choose from two powerful simulation algorithms in one platform; field-based simulation and flash-based simulation. It also enables the fastest simulation for any process node and pattern density.

The field-based engine simulates in the frequency domain and computes the entire field at once. Since the simulation is done everywhere, it is ideal for applications requiring dense simulations. Flash-based simulation simulates in the geometry domain and is ideal for sparse simulation. The two types of simulation shown in Figure 2 provide users with the flexibility to choose the best simulation methodology for their specific technology and flows.

Minimal effort is required to convert a model and recipe from flash-based format to field-based format; a few clicks in the easy-to-use graphical user interface perform the conversion. No new calibration or silicon verification is required. Users can maximize their return on investment by choosing the fastest simulation algorithm for a given process node and pattern density, while reusing learning between technology nodes.

Figure 2: Dual-domain simulation. Flexibility to choose from two powerful simulation algorithms in one platform; field-based simulation and flash-based simulation

Fully Pipelined Tapeout Flow to Highly Utilize Expensive Hardware Resources
The industry-unique Proteus Pipeline Technology (Figure 3) utilizes a novel concurrent data-processing mode by which computational resources are uniformly engaged and the effects of I/O latencies are masked by synchronal processing. Data and computational tasks are distributed over cluster resources so that applications such as resolution enhancement techniques (RET), OPC, mask rule checking (MRC), lithography rule checking (LRC), mask data preparation (MDP), and user-customized geometry operations are executed concurrently. Customers benefit by reduced total mask tape-out turnaround time (TAT) and improved hardware utilization, compared to conventional flows that require each sequential stage in the mask tapeout flow to generate a complete database before handing it off to the next stage. Without the need to hold complete databases at any point, cluster memory footprint is drastically reduced.

Proteus Pipeline Technology benefits include:
  • Reduced total mask tape-out TAT
  • Improved hardware utilization
    • Concurrent processing of all Proteus and CATS applications
    • Removal of intermediate I/0 and hierarchical management steps
  • Reduced cluster memory footprint
  • Effortless job-flow environment, offering both ease-of-use and programmability
  • Template-aware environment for MRC applications
  • Single recipe and layer-operation (Proteus MLO) environment for customization of all pre-OPC, OPC and post-OPC jobs

Figure 3: Proteus Pipeline Technology: Fully pipelined tapeout flow maximizes CPU utilization, reduces memory footprint and significantly reduces TAT

Highly scalable distributed processing and efficient hierarchy delivers specified target TAT via parallel processing
Proteus products are designed to run on multiple CPUs for fast TAT. A large design database can be dissected, distributed and processed simultaneously using multiple CPUs for shortened cycle time. Users have the flexibility to choose the desired number of CPUs to meet their target TAT. In addition, Proteus is a pioneer in enabling fast TAT through highly efficient hierarchical processing. Proteus achieves the specified TAT by effectively minimizing the correction redundancy and curtailing correction data expansion. Designs with memory or many repetitive blocks benefit significantly from the Proteus hierarchy processing.

Fast model regression through highly distributed parallel architecture
At advanced process nodes, a large number of optical and resist parameters must be tuned correctly to achieve an accurate model. ProGen supports multi-CPU parallel processing for fast, accurate model creation. ProGen offers near linear scalability and over 37X regression time reduction. As a result, significant savings in model regression time are realized (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Scalability of ProGen distributed regression

Most Accurate, Easy to Use, Flexible Modeling Environment

Reliable and predictable models through physics-based modeling
ProGen compact models are anchored on the first principles of physics, providing the best foundation for highly accurate and predictable models. In addition, ProGen provides a seamless interface to Sentaurus Lithography, the industry standard for rigorous lithography simulation.

Model calibration and recipe tuning automation
The ProGen Model Calibrator (PMC) module within Proteus WorkBench is the most highly automated model calibration utility on the market (Figure 5). PMC steps the user through a series of prompts for information about their lithography process and measurements of silicon structures. It uses this information and incorporates modeling best practices and expertise embedded in the tool to provide accurate models for use in OPC, LRC, and RETs.

PMC benefits include:
  • Fully-automated calibration environment to eliminate user subjectivity
  • Built-in modeling best practices
  • Default algorithms emulating Proteus expertise
  • Intuitive GUI to ensure model consistency and optimal Time-To-Accurate-Model

Figure 5: Proteus WorkBench’s PCM module for automated model calibration

Highly accurate models through staged modeling
Based on field-based simulation, staged modeling describes optics, resist, etch, and mask phenomena one at a time. This enables accurate description of each process step.

Highly predictive process window modeling
Process Window (PW) modeling facilitates hot spot detection during verification and correction across the process window. Proteus uses a parameterized approach to generate models across the process window. Models at non-nominal conditions are built by extrapolation of the focus and dose shift from the nominal condition, without involving the laborious steps in building each model in a repetitive manner (Figure 6).

Figure 6: ProGen parameterized process window modeling

Production-proven, Comprehensive Suite of RET Applications
At advanced process nodes, the usable process window becomes extremely small. RETs such as Model-Based Assist Features (MBAF) and Double-Patterning Techniques (DPT) become necessary to enhance the pattern fidelity and enlarge the process windows. Proteus provides a production-proven and comprehensive suite of RET applications to address these advanced technology needs.

Model and Rule-based Proteus AF
Proteus MBAF uses an inverse-mask technology (IMT) to place assist features for both contact and line/space layers (Figure 7). The assist feature placement is optimized for multi-pitch and complex geometry situations. Proteus MBAF incorporates a printability check to ensure that no assist features will be printed on silicon using a model-based approach during OPC. Proteus rule-based AF can leverage modeling technology to populate a rule table via an easy-to-use GUI, enabling optimized rule table generation with a simplified rule generation flow. This leverages the Proteus Pipeline Technology for concurrent processing of the mask synthesis flow.

Proteus MBAF benefits include:
  • More robust and symmetric AF placement which provides a holistic approach to AF placement without complex scripting
  • No empirical data required
  • Less clean up required as compared to rule-based approaches
  • Provides simplified placement yet offers better coverage on complex 2D designs
  • AF print fix and OPC co-optimization
  • Improved ease-of-use through a single recipe for AF and OPC
  • Reduced overall TAT via concurrent processing of MBAF and other RET applications within the Proteus Pipeline Technology

    • Figure 7: Proteus MBAF IMT placements on contacts

      Production-proven Proteus DPT
      Proteus DPT offers unmatched design compliance checking and cost-based solver, reducing design-rule violations. Proteus DPT ensures decomposition symmetry through mask-rule constraints (MRC), as shown in Figure 8, resulting in uniform mask density and hierarchy retention in all design types, which minimizes runtime. Color seeding is offered to enable more design and route-level control as additional means to retain hierarchy and to minimize runtime. Proteus DPT operates in the Proteus Pipeline to facilitate the most cost-efficient decomposition techniques on the market.

      Figure 8: MRC turned on in Proteus DPT enforces symmetry

      Proteus LRC Next-generation Lithography Verification
      Proteus LRC provides a comprehensive set of process window aware check functions to identify traditional process failures before committing a design to manufacture. For the unique challenges associated with double patterning processes, there are DPT-specific functions to reduce deployment time and consolidate results for efficient review. The highest level of accuracy is achieved with industry-proven OPC models and embedded access to rigorous first-principle models from Sentaurus Lithography for thorough analysis of resist profile and topography affects (Figure 9). Built on the Proteus engine, Proteus LRC is fully integrated into the Proteus Pipeline Technology for near-linear scalability to support the large data volume and dense transistor designs of the most demanding leading-edge full-chip applications. Proteus LRC is completely enabled for EUV deployment with the lowest cost of ownership on standard x86 hardware.

      Figure 9: Proteus Error Analysis Module in IC WorkBench

      Sentaurus Lithography Rigorous Simulation Interfaces Within Proteus Manufacturing Tools
      Sentaurus Lithography is the reference simulator for all lithographic process solutions, and with the push towards 20nm and beyond, there is demand to have rigorous simulation reference flows within the manufacturing environment. Sentaurus Lithography resist calibration is now fully integrated into Proteus WorkBench and IC WorkBench products of which they share a common datasheet, enabling supplementing measured calibration data with rigorous simulate data. Sentaurus Lithography is also embedded into Proteus LRC for automated rigorous calls on marginal verification checks to reference against the ProGen models. Lastly, a Sentaurus Lithography interface resides within Proteus OPC to execute localized rigorous correction when needed.

      Best CoO Through Use of Optimized General Purpose Hardware
      Proteus products are optimized for the x86 architecture processors. Proteus TAT performance has continually benefited from the huge advances in processor performance. OPC performance results on Intel Xeon® processor X5670 have shown a 16.54 improvement compared to the single-core 64-bit Intel® Xeon® processor, and up to 5.55x compared to the Dual-Core Intel® Xeon® processor 516 series (Figure 10). Further details can be viewed at: Standard hardware platforms provide excellent reliability, good cost of ownership, superb extensibility and can be used by multiple applications.

      Figure 10: EDA and OPC speedup on general-purpose hardware

      Core Technology Uniquely Linked to Synopsys Manufacturing Solutions
      Mask synthesis impacts yield and manufacturability of designs and is a key component of a complete Manufacturing solution. Proteus provides the core manufacturing link for multiple Synopsys tools, including Yield Management and PrimeYield LCC, enabling key Manufacturing links across the Synopsys portfolio.

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