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Nikon and Brion Partner to Deliver Optimized DFM Lithography Solutions

Improved OPC model accuracy and reduced time to market are key benefits

BELMONT, California., October 10, 2006 — Nikon Corporation, a leading supplier of lithography equipment for microelectronics manufacturing, and Brion Technologies Inc., the leader in Lithography-Driven Design & Manufacturing™, today announced a partnership to deliver lithography enabled DFM applications aimed at providing globally optimized solutions for advanced semiconductor manufacturing.

Semiconductor manufacturing is limited by the lithography process, which prints increasingly finer circuit patterns. The lithography process is driven by innovations in two technologies: wafer lithography equipment and computational lithography. Nikon is a leading supplier of high numerical aperture (NA) immersion equipment. Brion is a leading supplier of high performance computational lithography solutions, which design and verify the circuit geometries to be transferred to silicon wafers by lithography equipment. Historically, wafer lithography and computational lithography have been separate and independent. Nikon and Brion are proactively bringing these two capabilities together for joint optimization of the entire lithography process.

New lithography simulation and OPC models must be developed to improve CD performance for 45 nm and below. To achieve nanometer level CD control with fast turnaround time, models must be characterized using more than just traditional input parameters such as lithography dose, defocus, light source type and lens parameters. New simulation and modeling inputs must include immersion effects, polarization impacts, global and local flare, wavefront aberrations and other factors that may impact CD performance.

“By partnering with Brion, a leading-edge computational lithography company, we can provide enhanced imaging performance for our customers,” stated Toshikazu Umatate, Executive Officer, Precision Equipment Company, Nikon Corporation. “The accuracy of OPC models can be significantly improved and mask qualification time reduced, by incorporating our unique tool characteristics into the computational lithography solution.”

Brion’s Tachyon enables two critical functions for lithography that would have been prohibitive in terms of cycle time with traditional methods. First, Tachyon’s image-based architecture enables optimization for field-dependent optical effects to maximize chip performance and wafer yield. Second, Tachyon’s hardware-accelerated approach enables accurate full-chip modeling of Nikon tools and correction of the multitude of variations in wafer manufacturing.

“We are very excited to work with a world leader such as Nikon,” said Tadahiro Takigawa, corporate executive for business and technology development at Brion. “Combining the leading-edge immersion and polarization information from Nikon and the market-leading computational lithography products from Brion enables unprecedented OPC accuracy, which is key to superior total lithography performance. Through this collaboration, we are building a design-for-manufacturing network with our partners and customers.”

About Nikon
Since 1980, Nikon Corporation has been revolutionizing lithography with innovative products and technologies. The company is a worldwide leader in lithography equipment for the microelectronics manufacturing industry with more than 7,800 exposure systems installed worldwide. Nikon offers the most extensive selection of production-class steppers and scanners in the industry. These products serve the semiconductor, flat panel display (LCD) and thin-film magnetic head (TFH) industries. Nikon Precision Inc. provides service, training, applications and technical support, as well as sales and marketing for Nikon lithography equipment in North America. For more information about Nikon, access our web site at www.nikonprecision.com

About Brion Technologies
Brion Technologies, Inc. is the pioneer and leader in Lithography-Driven Design and Manufacturing™. Founded in 2002, the privately held company is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Brion’s Tachyon™ platform, a highly accurate and ultra-fast OPC and OPC verification engine, enables a unique set of capabilities that address the interrelated challenges of design, photomask making and wafer printing in semiconductor lithography. With more than 125 employees, the company leads the worldwide market for optical proximity correction (OPC) verification, and is rapidly expanding in the OPC market. For further information, visit the Brion Technologies web site at www.brion.com or call +1 (408) 653-1500.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements Such statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and changes in condition, particularly those related to industry requirements and other risks. The Company undertakes no obligation to update the information in this press release.

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Contact:
Bernie Wood
Director of Marketing
Nikon Precision Inc.,
(650) 413-8533 phone
bwood@nikon.com