A Silicon Valley start-up has developed a streamlined process to try and improve chipmaking techniques to boost performance and cut costs and has attracted big name customers such as Lucent.
Numerical Technologies’ In-Phase technology enables chipmakers to etch circuits on silicon wafers that are thinner than 0.18 microns compared to the current 0.25 micron standard. The company claims this helps boost processor performance and also reduces the cost of making them.
It has also formed several strategic alliances with foundry service providers, equipment manufacturers and mask providers. A handful of major integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers such as Lucent, Taiwan Semiconductor, and VLSI have also announced plans to deploy the firm’s technology in their fabs during the next 12 months.
Buno Pati, Numerical Technologies’ president and chief executive, said: "For companies focused on high performance chips such as microprocessors, graphics ICs and networking chips, we offer a way to achieve the performance benefits of next generation IC feature sizes on today's process.”
Numerical Technologies’ In-Phase package enables chip makers to automatically shrink drawn gate lengths in IC designs below 0.12 micron using phase shifting mask technology. The offering takes inputs from verified design automation files and automatically configures layouts for phase shifting photomasks to produce smaller gate lengths.
The technology creates automated systems that extend the subwavelength Integrated Circuits (IC) flow for offerings ranging from design software to manufacturing equipment. Subwavelengths sit below the wavelength of the optical light sources used to transfer designs onto silicon wafers.
Numerical has already raised $20 million in venture capital and has nearly 80 employees. It is “marginally profitable” and is also contemplating an initial public offering.
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