An innovative approach for the integrated and virtual development of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment is presented in this paper: Virtual Equipment Engineering (VEE). This new concept allows for the intelligent coupling of CAD with existing and novel simulation methods of the equipment development process towards a flexibly configurable integrated system. The main objective of VEE is to forecast the influence of development measures on the process and on the final device characteristics in the very early development stages of new equipment. Therefore, VEE follows a holistic view on equipment and processes to offer an integrated and adaptable development environment and a consistent simulation of equipment, process, process chain, and final devices. The major challenge in realizing this approach is the provision of a continuous, consistent, and persistent simulation chain. One possible solution dealing with this challenge is being developed and presented in this paper.

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