SandBox Semiconductor Receives the NSF TECP Award to Support a Strategic Collaboration With Siemens in Virtual Semiconductor Manufacturing

SandBox Semiconductor, a rising innovator in predictive AI process optimization tools was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation under the Technology Enhancement for Commercial Partnerships (TECP) SBIR program. This award is a follow-on award to SandBox Semiconductor’s Phase II SBIR proposal “Disruptive Semiconductor Software Tool for Recipe Optimization for Deposition and Etching Processes”. It aims to support a collaboration between SandBox Semiconductor and Siemens Digital Industries Software, a world leader in electronic design automation (EDA) software.

The goal of the collaboration between SandBox and Siemens is to demonstrate a tool to simulate the 3D etch propagation of post-lithography profile predictions generated by Siemens’ Calibre® OPCverify software module using SandBox’s modeling toolsets. The collaboration leverages SandBox’s cutting-edge, physics-based 3D simulation technologies for complex etch processes and the Calibre software’s advanced lithography simulation tool for identifying hotspot candidates. This new tool is intended to be used to identify yield limiters for electrical shorts or undesired contacts by integrating the effects of both lithography and etching in 3D for the first time. The goal is to enable process engineers to accurately predict process outcomes after each step in their development workflow. This collaboration is targeting to accelerate process development efforts required to achieve high yielding chip manufacturing workflows.

“Detecting yield limiters quickly and accurately is foundational to manufacturing success at advanced process technology nodes,” said Steffen Schulze PhD, Vice President of Product Management for Calibre Manufacturing Solutions at Siemens Digital Industries Software. “We look forward to exploring the capabilities of SandBox’s unique 3D etch profile prediction technology in supplementing our core predictive technologies.”

SandBox Semiconductor CEO, Dr. Meghali Chopra, is also excited for this new project - “Our collaboration with Siemens gives us the opportunity to work with the best of the electronic design automation industry. We are very excited that Siemens has chosen to work with our advanced modeling technologies and are enthusiastic about the technology synergies this collaboration will unlock.”

SandBox has developed the SandBox Studio™ AI on-prem software suite which automates etch and deposition recipe development. SandBox Studio™ AI enables engineers to independently build sophisticated physics-based and AI models to aid in their process development workflows. With the SandBox toolset, engineers can run near-instantaneous simulations to predict optimal recipe parameters required to achieve difficult etch and deposition recipe targets for a given stack geometry and reactor. The models themselves evolve over time based on data input by the process engineers in SandBox Studio™ Server’s robust database. For more information on SandBox Studio™ AI, contact

Siemens’ industry-leading Calibre integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing solutions, built on a hierarchical platform, help support foundry success by enabling fast ramp and maximizing process yield through the entire technology node lifecycle. The Calibre Fab Solutions portfolio of tools, that includes Calibre OPCVerify, is a production proven, commercially available set of fab analytics tools that provides predictable insight into the complex interactions of design and process. It is ideal for structuring and analyzing fab data, creating predictive machine learning models, and generating actionable analysis for improving product yield.

About SandBox Semiconductor

Founded in June 2016, SandBox Semiconductor’s mission is to is to accelerate manufacturing operations, improve process quality for next generation technologies, and reduce material usage through strategic process development. A minority- and woman-owned small business based in Austin, Texas, SandBox’s technologies have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy to develop its predictive recipe design and analysis capabilities. For more information on SandBox, visit or email

About the NSF’s Small Business Programs

America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit

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