ASML MaskTools, Mentor Graphics to bridge semiconductor optical lithography barriers

Signed joint marketing agreement

Press release - Santa Clara, California, December 9, 1999

In a move to eliminate the growing gap between semiconductor design and sub-wavelength manufacturing, ASML MaskTools, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASML, and Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) have signed a collaborative agreement. This agreement combines expertise in imaging equipment, software and advanced processes to create a total integrated process solution – now required for silicon success at sub-wavelength geometries – enabling semiconductor customers to accelerate their deep submicron technology roadmap and chip yield. It also marks the first agreement between an advanced imaging solution provider – ASML – and a leading electronic design automation (EDA) company, Mentor Graphics.


Today, as IC geometries shrink below half the wavelength of light at 0.13 micron and beyond, full-chip manufacturability verification and optical extension techniques are now becoming critical components in semiconductor production to realize acceptable chip yields. Optical extension techniques, such as optical proximity correction (OPC), phase shift masks (PSM), scattering bars, and off-axis illumination, are required to extend optical lithography into what had previously been considered the domain of next-generation lithography. Mentor Graphics, MaskTools and ASML will address this need for full-chip manufacturability verification using multiple optical process extensions by leveraging their areas of expertise. ASML brings its intellectual property, advanced imaging systems, research facilities and years of silicon manufacturability experience perfecting scattering bar techniques.


Mentor Graphics brings its Calibre tool suite – the industry standard for physical verification and manufacturability – and specifically its Calibre OPCpro, Calibre PSMgate and its silicon versus layout verification tools, Calibre ORC and Calibre PRINTimage. Together, both companies combined strengths will offer the fastest available, accurate full-chip modeling and correction of the fabrication process, including the effects of mask production, advanced imaging, and resist and etch effects.


"With this alliance, we are not only extending the life of optical lithography, we are creating a new market – the manufacturability verification market," said Doug Marsh, president of ASML MaskTools. "This market includes the majority of customers in both the EDA world and in the semiconductor fabrication business. Together, ASML MaskTools and Mentor Graphics are providing a total manufacturability solution for today's optical and tomorrow's next-generation lithographies."


"By combining ASML's advanced manufacturing expertise with Calibre's deeply integrated physical verification and sub-wavelength manufacturability technologies of OPC and PSM," said Brian Derrick, general manager of Mentor's Physical and Static Verification Division, "our alliance delivers the industry's most advanced, easiest to use IC layout to silicon verification manufacturability flow. We're looking forward to working with ASML at their US Technology Development Center to optimize our software with photoresists, masks, illumination sources and lens designs to deliver a complete manufacturability solution for our joint customers."

About Mentor Graphics

Mentor Graphics Corporation is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products and consulting services for the world's largest electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of $500 million and employs approximately 2,600 people worldwide. Company headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777. Website:

About ASML MaskTools

ASML MaskTools, Inc. is a newly formed ASML company based in Santa Clara, California. The company is focused on providing an array of optical extension technologies to enhance photolithography process latitude, thereby improving IC yields in manufacturing. Optical extension technologies are becoming essential as optical lithography is continuing to be used for volume IC manufacturing below the wavelength of the exposure light source. MaskTools and MaskRigger are trademarks of ASML.

About ASML

ASM Lithography was founded in 1984 and is a world leader in advanced photolithography systems that are essential to the fabrication of modern integrated circuits. ASML is publicly traded on both the Amsterdam Exchanges and on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol ASML. Visit the company's website at for more information.

Forward-looking statements

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this news release that may be considered forward-looking statements may be subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those projected, including uncertainties in the market, pricing competition, procurement and manufacturing efficiencies, and other risks detailed from time to time in reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company assumes no obligation to update the information in this release.

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