Microfabrication CAD Design & Layout Tutorial using KLayout

The purpose of CAD in this context is to define which areas will be exposed during a lithography step and which will be left unexposed. For our purposes, there are two primary paths your data will follow once it leaves the CAD system:
  • Sent to a mask making machine to generate a photomask you’ll use for a photolithography step. This might be the MFF's Heidelberg mask writer, or it might be an outside service such as Compugraphics, FineLine, or PhotoSciences. Each of these cases, as well as any other mask vendor, has a specific set of do's and don'ts for their system, dictated by the manufacturing tools and software they use and the capabilities of their process.
  • Sent to the JEOL JBX-6300 E-Beam Lithography system for direct-writing on wafer. In this case, the data will be processed through a sophisticated software program called LayoutBEAMER, from Genisys GMBH. Since this is my primary arena, I’m going to focus on EBL exposures, but I’ll mention mask shops at various points in this discussion as well.


This tutorial is focused on implementing smart design principles using the KLayout layout software. There are other software packages out there you can use for design, from the very simple to the extremely complex, and expensive. Certainly, for a capability-to-price ratio, you can’t beat freeware like KLayout. And really, it’s likely to be sophisticated and powerful enough for many of the tasks at the MFF. More sophisticated, but also more complex, the MFF now has a site license for the LayoutEditor CAD system. This license is available to UW students, faculty or staff working on UW computers. Contact me (link at bottom) for details and your copy of the license file.

This tutorial is divided into several pages: