Coventor SEMulator3D Software Reduces Cost and Development Cycles for Semiconductor and MEMS Processes

IBM and IMEC among industry leaders realizing benefits of SEMulator3D virtual fabrication for 22nm semiconductor and integrated MEMS+CMOS process applications

CARY, North Carolina – March 7, 2011 – Coventor®, Inc., the leading supplier of software for developing micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), today announced availability of SEMulator3D® 2011, the latest version of its virtual fabrication software for semiconductor and MEMS process development organizations. SEMulator3D is already in use by the world’s largest semiconductor companies, MEMS integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and MEMS foundries for tasks ranging from process integration and documentation of advanced logic and memory process nodes to MEMS design verification, and has provided rapid ROI by reducing time-consuming, costly build-and-test cycles.

The SEMulator3D 2011 release provides a three-fold performance boost in model building time and new robust 3D mesh generation capabilities that create silicon-accurate meshes for physics-based simulations used to optimize the performance and manufacturability of semiconductor and MEMS devices. In addition, Coventor is providing the first release of SEMulator3D Reader, a downloadable interactive 3D model viewer that will streamline communications among process development team members and with suppliers and customers.

The release of SEMulator3D 2011 is expected to increase adoption of 3D virtual fabrication for existing process integration and documentation applications, as well as expand the use model into emerging applications, including novel semiconductor processes, non-destructive metrology, and highly integrated MEMS+CMOS processes.

“IBM uses Coventor’s SEMulator3D to emulate advanced FEOL, MOL and BEOL integrated processes, with specific attention to 22nm technology and beyond. SEMulator3D allows modeling of a complete process sequence and creates realistic 3D models that can be shared with colleagues. The process/layout editor tools allow development and calibration of a process emulation and expands our understanding of the resulting structures to a variety of layouts,” said David Fried, 22nm chief technologist at IBM. “With this capability, our visibility into the full technology implication of process selections and changes has been improved. SEMulator3D has helped IBM predict problems that otherwise would only have been found by subsequent testing and physical failure analysis.”

Effective Virtual Fabrication Methodology

The cost of a single wafer run today ranges from $100k for specialized MEMS devices to over a million dollars for the latest nanometer-scale semiconductor design on 300mm wafers. This presents a significant process development and integration challenge for which SEMulator3D’s virtual fabrication methodology is uniquely qualified to address according to Coventor’s CEO Mike Jamiolkowski,

“Virtual fabrication in the fab and the lab is critical to reducing the time and cost required to leverage new process technologies. SEMulator3D 2011 takes process modeling to the next level by enabling greater productivity and more accurate, predictive results. Not only does this help engineers save the cost of multiple test wafer runs, it means they can get new processes into production faster and spend more time on process innovation for the next generation.”

“IMEC uses SEMulator3D for process documentation and design verification. Our SiGeMEMS-above-IC technology allows product developers to monolithically integrate MEMS devices with CMOS circuits, enabling new applications and reduced form factors. By providing SEMulator3D process files with our PDK, we enable designers to verify manufacturability of their designs before tape-out for fabrication.
Using SEMulator3D, we can ensure that designers receive the accurate and complete process information they require,” commented Stephane Donnay, Ph.D., CMORE program manager at IMEC.

Fast 3D Process Modeling

SEMulator3D 2011 sets new standards in performance, accuracy and ease of use. Coventor extensively profiled customer test cases to identify steps that required the most computing time, and then optimized the algorithms and implemented parallel processing support (making use of multi-core CPUs) to achieve performance gains of three-to-four times over the previous release. By way of example, SEMulator3D 2011 is more than three times faster for a 25nm flash memory application. In addition, the tool now detects incremental changes to the process description and automatically re-builds only subsequent process steps, saving on average 50 percent or more in model development time.

“SEMulator3D is our tool of choice for experimenting with new technologies and ideas,” said Thomas Ostermann, staff engineer, Power Technology Development, Automotive Power at Infineon Technologies Austria AG. “We also use SEMulator3D to create 3D cross sections for documentation and training of new colleagues. The ability to generate 3D pictures and animations makes it much easier to explain a process.”

Silicon-Accurate 3D Behavioral Simulation

While SEMulator3D has long had the ability to create silicon-accurate shapes that can be difficult to capture using conventional mechanical CAD and TCAD tools, its new mesh generation capability means that device simulations are no longer limited to the idealized device models so often used today. Surface and volume meshes can be exported to finite element analysis and TCAD simulation tools in multiple industry-standard formats, including ans (Ansys), dxf, obj, and unv formats. The meshes are of uniform quality and density suitable for simulation of many physical domains, including mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetics, in addition to coupled physics such as electromechanics.

Easier 3D Model Sharing

The new SEMulator3D Reader is a full-featured 3D viewer that uses a compact file format designed for portability. It enables process development and foundry service teams to easily share 3D device models that convey far more information than the static screenshot images or PowerPoint slides typically used to communicate with colleagues or customers. Users are able to interact directly with the models to manipulate the 3D view, see a cross section at any location, toggle visibility of layers, and animate the fabrication process. Comments and annotations can be added for each process step to further streamline communications and documentation throughout the entire development cycle. A downloadable version of the SEMulator3D Reader is immediately available with online access to a variety of sample semiconductor and MEMS 3D models.


The SEMulator3D 2011 release is shipping today.

About Coventor

Coventor, Inc. is the market leader in automated design solutions for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and virtual fabrication of MEMS and semiconductor devices. Coventor serves a worldwide customer base of integrated device manufacturers, fabless design houses, independent foundries, and R&D organizations that develop MEMS-based products for automotive, aerospace, industrial, defense, and consumer electronics applications, including smart phones, tablets, and gaming systems. Coventor’s software tools and expertise enable its customers to simulate and optimize MEMS device designs and fabrication processes before committing to time-consuming and costly build-and-test cycles. The company is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina and has offices in California’s Silicon Valley, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Paris, France. More information is available at


Coventor and SEMulator3D are registered trademarks of Coventor, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Note to Editors: Digital images are available.

For more information, contact:
Mike Sottak (408) 876 4418

This entry was posted in Press Releases. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.