Process Documentation with SEMulator3D

Effective process documentation is an essential tool for process development technology transfer, in-line quality assurance and failure analysis. Most fabs use general purpose drawing tools to produce illustrative cross-sections of their process. Drawn cross sections are time consuming to produce and maintain, and often inaccurate, because drawing tools have no predictive capabilities. Furthermore, static 2D images do not convey information about the 3D nature of design and process interaction. SEMulator3D provides a far better way to produce and maintain process documentation. It accurately predicts 3D structures produced by the fab process flow.  The 3D graphical output from SEMulator3D is far superior to static 2D illustrations, in predictivity, realism, and conveying understanding.

Hand-drawn cross section of memory device, and a SEMulator3D model of the same device.

Process Flow Modifications

Illustrations from drawing tools are extremely labor-intensive to maintain during the phase of development when the processes are changing rapidly. That phase is, unfortunately, the time when process documentation is most critical. With SEMulator3D, updating documentation to account for process changes is simply a matter of updating the process description and re-building the 3D model. Figures are easily created for each step in the process and updated to reflect changes in minutes rather than days or weeks. Cross sections can be output at any location in the 3D model to create dimensionally accurate images.

SEMulator3D generates reusable 3D content that can be exported to the SEMulator3D Reader for publishing interactive 3D models or embedded directly into Adobe 3D PDF files in the OBJ format.

SEM image of a 45nm CMOS logic transistor

45nm FEOL animation

Animation created with SEMulator3D

Process Step Partitioning

Individual processes can be partitioned to better understand the evolution of the physical behavior. This information often proves essential for future process and yield troubleshooting, particularly for complex etch and epitaxial growth processes.  Documenting these processes with actual silicon partitions is excessively resource-intensive, particularly for complex etch and epitaxial growth processes, and is therefore often neglected. SEMulator3D easily generates partition animations for documenting these processes and trends.

“SEMulator3D is our tool of choice for experimenting with new technologies and ideas. 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.”
– Infineon Technologies Austria AG

A Superior Tool for Process Documentation

SEMulator3D eliminates inaccuracies and inefficiencies associated with 2D process illustrations. It produces realistic 3D models that can serve many purposes beyond standard process documentation, including technology transfer, failure analysis and design rule development. The cross-section and process partition functionality enable comprehensive characterization that is often neglected in the fab due to resource limitations. The virtual fabrication capabilities of SEMulator3D represent a significant advance in streamlining technology communications.

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