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CNF, through the generosity of KLA-Tencor, is making the PROLITH X5.2 Advanced Lithography Optimization Tool software available to on-site Academic researchers. PROLITH is widely used in the semiconductor industry for simulating process results because of its accuracy, flexibility, and ease of use. Results are displayed on-screen for analysis in 3-D, allowing the user to visually determine the impact of process variations. Data can also be output in various forms for use with external programs, inclusion in publications, or graphical printing. Below is some information from the KLA-Tencor PROLITH website.

PROLITH by KLA-Tencor product page:



Where Advanced Lithography Begins

PROLITH X5.2 virtual lithography tool uses advanced models to quickly and accurately simulate how pattern will print on the wafer for 2Xnm and below design nodes. This lithography simulation tool is used by advanced IC manufacturers, stepper companies, track companies, mask manufacturers, material providers and research consortia to cost-effectively evaluate EUV, double patterning and other advanced lithography technologies. As a critically important simulation tool for leading-edge lithography, PROLITH X5.2 helps lithographers expand their areas of research while significantly reducing the time required to identify workable lithography solutions.

  • The first commercially available stochastic resist model that takes into account the quantum nature of light and the discrete reactant molecules in the resist to:
  • Accurately and quickly simulate and predict line edge roughness (LER), and explore potential solutions for minimizing LER;
  • Investigate pattern printing repeatability, and study the impact on yield;
  • Study line and contact hole CD uniformity;
  • Determine the usable process window;
  • Examine how different resist reactant loading levels affect printing (e.g. process windows, CD control, defect levels), allowing material companies to explore resist formulations at significantly reduced cost.
  • The first commercially available, fast model that simulates the photoelectron effect to accurately determine the outcome of EUV lithography.
  • Intuitive wafer topography set-up and improved wafer topography simulation models that allow for fast, easy evaluation of double and single patterning non-planar lithography stacks.
  • Database of over 60 resist models, many of which were calibrated by KLA-Tencor experts using advanced methodologies, are available for immediate use.
  • Accelerated Maxwell solution for mask topography simulations that minimizes the execution time with comparable accuracy to a rigorous Maxwell model.
  • Point spread function based flare model for EUV and ArF applications.
  • Intuitive interface that runs on a 32- or 64-bit PC, providing fast, accurate lithography simulation models without the need for computer upgrades or supercomputers.
  • Available as an upgrade to the industry-leading PROLITH computational lithography simulation platform, providing extendibility to researchers’ existing capital investments.



Advanced Lithography Technologies: When developing lithography processes for 2Xnm and below design nodes, researchers need to evaluate EUV lithography, double patterning lithography and creative single patterning lithography technologies. They must understand how pattern printing is affected by lithography variables, such as mask sets, stepper parameters and resist materials. The traditional method of evaluating these lithography technologies – printing hundreds of test wafers using experimental materials and prototype process equipment – would be complex, expensive, and time consuming. PROLITH X5.2 acts as a virtual lithography simulation tool, providing researchers with an affordable means for modeling different lithography technologies and reducing the development time for their most advanced devices.

EUV Lithography: The PROLITH X5.2 virtual lithography simulation tool includes advanced stochastic and photoelectron models that quickly and accurately predict pattern printing for EUV lithography. Using the PROLITH lithography simulation tool, researchers have an affordable means to explore EUV lithography and the many variables and issues associated with the technology. One such issue is line edge roughness (LER), which can cause CD uniformity problems that negatively impact device yield and performance. Version X5.2’s advanced photolithography simulation models help researchers accurately predict LER and cost-effectively explore potential solutions for minimizing LER. Another EUV issue is the long-range flare effects that affect the current generation of EUV lithography equipment. PROLITH X5.2 allows users to specify various flare models to efficiently calculate flare impact.

Wafer Topography: Wafer topography is an important consideration when implementing double patterning processes in the lithography cell. The first-pass resist patterns in DPL contort the imaging materials coated over them, resulting in non-planar resist surfaces for second-pass patterning. The PROLITH X5.2 microlithography simulation tool includes enhanced wafer topography models and improved ease-of-use for the set-up of non-planar resist profiles. These enable lithographers to more accurately predict the outcome of DPL processes and allow the simulation of next-generation non-planar devices like FinFETS and other non-planar, real-world wafer stacks (e.g. STI layers, implant layers, damascene structures). PROLITH X5.2 also introduces new metrics for calculating reflectivity in the presence of wafer topography. This metric can be useful in film-stack optimization for lithography processes.


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