Introducing Fab.da: A Comprehensive, AI-Powered Solution for Efficient Semiconductor Manufacturing

Vivek Jain

Sep 06, 2023 / 5 min read

While a semiconductor chip itself may be small, the advanced manufacturing process that is needed to manufacture these chips inside semiconductor fabs is anything but simple and straightforward. In fact, it can take hundreds of process steps and more than a month to process a single wafer. After the wafer is processed, it subsequently takes more than a month to go through the assembly, testing, and packaging steps necessary to get the final chip ready to be utilized.

The challenges before semiconductor fabs are expansive and evolving. As the size of chips shrinks from nanometers to eventually angstroms, the complexity of the manufacturing process increases in response. To combat the complexity and sheer intricacy of semiconductor manufacturing, innovative software solutions are required.

One such challenge is the petabytes of data that need to be analyzed quickly and accurately to optimally control high-volume manufacturing and minimize the number of process excursions. The lack of subject matter experts available to analyze this amount of data further aggravates the challenge.

Not only that, but semiconductor fabs must also continue to reduce their costs and meet aggressive production objectives due to the increased pressure to meet the supply commitments of their customers and fierce competition with other fabs. Beyond navigating the complexity of the manufacturing process, new solutions are necessary to help make the process as efficient as possible and the yield as high as possible to produce the most value for fabs.

To overcome these challenges, Synopsys is introducing a novel software offering, Fab.da, to make semiconductor manufacturing efficient.

advanced semiconductor manufacturing

What is Fab.da?

Synopsys Fab.da is a comprehensive process control solution that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to allow for faster production ramp and efficient high-volume manufacturing. Fab.da is a part of the Synopsys EDA Data Analytics solution, which brings together data analytics and insights from the entire chip lifecycle. It can analyze many petabytes of data originating from thousands of equipment in semiconductor fabs with zero downtime.

Set apart from other industry offerings, this innovative solution brings data from multiple silos together within a fab — wafer, equipment, design, mask, test, and yield. There is no other solution in the industry today that offers a complete data continuum by bringing together these different data types from many different sources into one platform for both advanced and mature node chips. This data continuum allows for high user productivity, maximum data scalability, and increased speed and accuracy in root cause analysis for issues.

Fab.da chip manufacturing process

As a comprehensive solution for advanced fab-wide process control, Synopsys Fab.da not only offers world-class AI- and ML-powered fault detection and classification (FDC) and statistical process control (SPC), but also enables customers to detect faults dynamically (Dynamic Fault Detection) and utilize a comprehensive decision support system. This enables fab engineers to execute efficient process monitoring and control by identifying process excursions early and determining the root cause quickly.

Additionally, Fab.da offers best-in-class defect analysis capabilities for ML-based automatic defect classification and defect image analytics. This enables manufacturers to drill down yield issues to the subsystem of the equipment or specific process parameter to quickly identify the root cause of process excursions. Furthermore, Fab.da is cloud-ready, which offers maximum flexibility in the cost of ownership for varying computation needs over time.

The Benefits of Synopsys Fab.da for IC Manufacturers

Traditional techniques to detect issues in the manufacturing process have run out of steam, especially at advanced technology nodes. For example, without a solution like Fab.da, an engineer must do their own yield analysis to seek out potential problems. Once they identify an issue, they communicate with the defect and process teams to determine the root cause and then troubleshoot it. The defect team will begin work to find some correlation behind the issue and the process team troubleshoot and link it to the root cause.

silicon manufacturing process

All these steps take up significant time that could be focused on achieving the highest yield of chips possible, driving costs down and reducing time to market. One of the biggest benefits of Fab.da is that an engineer can quickly recognize and pinpoint an issue from a specific chip to see which process step and/or equipment has caused the issue.

Beyond the fast and accurate process control that Fab.da allows for, there are numerous other benefits that result from the saved time and money, including:

  • Efficiency: Allows fab to make better decisions and reduce false alarms
  • Scalability: Analyzes petabytes of data, connects multiple fabs, and comes cloud-ready
  • Robustness: Requires zero downtime and enables live upgrades
  • Extensibility: Deploys customer applications on the Fab.da platform
  • Predictive applications: Enables fabs to take leap from reactive to predictive process control

Synopsys is Well-Positioned to Make IC Manufacturing More Efficient

Synopsys is the industry leader in IC design solutions and has a strong and growing footprint in software solutions used in fabs. In delivering these sophisticated products, Synopsys utilizes its strong expertise and commitment to AI. Case in point, our new platform.

Uniquely positioned to deliver process control solutions to manage complexity at leading-edge fabs, Synopsys helps chip designers and manufacturers drive operational excellence and productivity, providing a competitive edge in today's dynamic manufacturing landscape.

Synopsys is a leading provider of software solutions for silicon manufacturing and silicon lifecycle management, including solutions for TCAD, mask solutions, and manufacturing analytics. In fact, our existing solutions are already connected to thousands of pieces of equipment over multiple fabs with millions of sensors, giving us the ability to analyze hundreds of petabytes of data.

Using advanced techniques in AI/ML and big data, Synopsys enables its customers to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 by building upon our extensive expertise in the data continuum. This starts with IC design, mask synthesis and process modeling to on-chip test and monitoring techniques as well as cloud-based data analytics.

fab.da benefits

Ultimately, our suite of analytics solutions, including Fab.da, empowers the most effective and efficient semiconductor chip production by leveraging the power of data analytics through actionable insights. By providing real-time visibility into the manufacturing process, Synopsys enables predictive analytics and optimizes product quality and yield to help give semiconductor fabs a leg up in this competitive landscape. To learn more about Synopsys Fab.da, please visit the product page.

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