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  • Synopsys Buys HPL Technologies, Announces Sematech OPC Partnership
Oct 2005
AUSTIN, Texas and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 4 -- Synopsys Inc., a developer of semiconductor design software, announced yesterday it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire HPL Technologies Inc., a San Jose, Calif., developer of yield management software and test chip solutions.

Under the agreement, Synopsys will acquire HPL for approximately $13 million in cash, or $0.30 per share.

Synopsys said integrating HPL's yield management and test chip technologies into its DFM (design for manufacturing) portfolio will enable customers to increase productivity and improve profitability in the design and manufacture of advanced semiconductor devices. Synopsys will also broaden its DFM research and development expertise by integrating HPL's team of engineers.

The transaction, which will require HPL shareholder approval, is expected to close during Synopsys' first quarter of fiscal 2006, subject to customary conditions.
and the Sematech semiconductor consortium announced today

In related news, Synopsys announced today a joint program with the Sematech semiconductor consortium to develop advanced optical proximity correction (OPC) models that will enable the extension of optical lithography.

The program, part of Sematech's 193-nm Immersion Lithography Extendibility Project, is intended to facilitate better understanding of the challenges in process nodes beyond 45 nm and to enable participants to develop software and manufacturing processes that will meet these challenges. Synopsys' Proteus mask synthesis software will be used in the program.

Synopses and Sematech said preliminary modeling results indicate that immersion tools using a 1.3 numerical aperture (NA) can be image-corrected for use at the 45-nm half-pitch. Their objective is to eventually enable the extension of immersion lithography to the 32-nm half-pitch and extend models for optical tools with NAs 1.55 and greater.

"Since advanced immersion tools are just now being developed, modeling is critical to determining how far we can go with immersion lithography," said Shane Palmer, a Sematech senior technologist and Texas Instruments assignee. "The Synopsys tools have proven useful in developing the OPC models that will allow us to push the immersion frontier.

"Sematech's project is geared toward preparing tools for the next generation of immersion scanner that will use higher index fluids, NA above 1.3 and full polarization control," Palmer said. "The results will help Sematech member companies make informed decisions about appropriate imaging tools for advanced technology cycles."

In immersion lithography systems, the immersion liquid (such as pure water) is placed between an exposure tool's projection lens and a wafer, and the liquid's refractive properties are used to create higher-resolution images than a "dry" lens system will allow. Immersion also allows a lens to be designed with an NA greater than 1, which permits even further resolution improvement. Accurate modeling of the optical distortions introduced by these "hyper-NA" projection systems is required in order to validate designs, perform OPC and add reticle enhancement technologies that enable high yields in manufacturing.
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