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Santa Clara, California, August 1, 2000
ASML MaskTools today announced that UMC, a leading semiconductor foundry, has licensed ASML MaskTools optical extension technology for manufacturing advanced semiconductors with 150 nm design rules. The licensing agreement covers the purchase of ASML MaskTools MaskRigger software as well as a technology license for UMC to use ASML MaskTools patented scattering-bar technology with any third-party software. The enhanced application meets UMC's requirements for processing the Xilinx XCV3200E, the world's highest density field programmable gate array (FPGA) semiconductor chips.
"This licensing agreement meets UMC's production needs for Xilinx's next-generation chips that are built on our 150 nm copper-interconnect process and will contain over 200 million transistors and three million system gates," said Peter Huang, lithography department director at UMC. "Process latitude increases significantly with the use of ASML MaskTools scattering-bar technology, which allows quicker yield maturity of next-generation process technologies. This superior software and optical extension technology will be a strong tool for UMC as we further extend our capabilities in sub-wavelength photolithography technology."
The relationship between UMC and ASML MaskTools began 18 months ago, when ASML MaskTools provided a scattering-bar reticle to demonstrate its technology's capabilities at 250 nm and 180 nm design rules. During the demonstration period, ASML MaskTools and its Taiwanese representative Grand Technology Inc. provided technical support on all issues and assisted in qualifying a local Taiwanese photomask shop in manufacturing scattering-bar masks. A key benefit of ASML MaskTools technology is the larger process window provided by the scattering bars (subresolution design elements placed by MaskRigger software) on the photomask. The scattering bars act as 'diffraction matching' elements on standard binary photomasks, which enable the optimization of the total imaging process without the use of expensive alternating phase shift masks. Furthermore, the technology can be implemented on many layers of the manufacturing flow, not just the gate layer. This results in much tighter critical dimension control on all layers of circuit designs which are pushed to the limits of manufacturing. The technology becomes crucial on the 150 nm generation and below, as a way to extend the life of the installed base of 248 nm manufacturing equipment.
"Xilinx gets significantly more high-speed parts using ASML MaskTools scattering-bar technology, adding even greater value to UMC's world class technology and foundry services," said Daniel Gitlin, senior director of technology development for Xilinx Advanced Products Group.
"This software and technology licensing agreement provides UMC with the flexibility to implement with our own software products or other advanced EDA software," said Doug Marsh, president of ASML MaskTools. "Our technology is the most advanced in the industry and we are proud to be a key enabler of UMC's next-generation manufacturing technology."
ASML MaskTools policy is that each fab that wishes to make and use photomasks containing ASML MaskTools scattering-bar IP should obtain a technology license from ASML MaskTools. The license can be obtained either by purchasing ASML MaskTools software, MaskRigger, or by purchasing an unbundled technology license for use with third-party software, such as Mentor Graphics® Calibre® software. The scattering-bar technology license is sold exclusively by ASML MaskTools.
UMC, a world leading semiconductor foundry, operates seven wafer fabs in Taiwan's Hsinchu Science Park. UMC's Japanese subsidiary, Nippon Foundry Inc., has one fab in Japan and UMC's joint venture with Hitachi, Trecenti Technologies is readying to ramp production in its 300 mm fab in Japan. UMC has also started construction on a 300 mm facility in Taiwan's Tainan Science Park, with target production scheduled to start by mid-year 2001 and a design capacity of 40,000 wafers per month. UMC is a leader in foundry technology, with facilities ramping to reach an annual output of 2.4 million eight-inch equivalent wafers per year in 2000, with more than half of the year-end wafer outs in advanced 0.18- and 0.25-micron technology. UMC's joint development program with IBM and Infineon Technologies schedules introduction of the Worldlogic standard 0.13-micron technology this year. UMC serves customers around the world through sales and marketing offices located in the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands. UMC can be found at www.umc.com.
About ASML MaskTools
ASML MaskTools, Inc. is an 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.
ASML, founded in 1984, is a world leader in advanced lithography systems that are essential to the fabrication of integrated circuits. ASML is publicly traded on both the Amsterdam Exchange and on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol 'ASML'. Visit the company's website at www.asml.com for more information.
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