PXI, and a larger format standard, AXIe, are causing a revolution in the instrumentation industry. Traditional “box” instruments with knobs and displays are giving way to faceless modular instruments that are controlled by a computer, such as a desktop or laptop, or even embedded within the modular chassis itself. With this new format come speed, size reduction, flexibility, and lower cost.
Electron-beam (e-beam) lithography is a next-generation maskless semiconductor manufacturing process. Being maskless, it eliminates diffraction limitations found in current photolithography for 20 nm or smaller processes. E-beam lithography requires a data streaming system with very high throughput that simultaneously transfers massive amounts of pattern data from a data server and processes that data while outputting it to an e-beam tool. The e-beam tool itself interfaces through thousands of fiber optic channels and requires a channel-to-channel skew of less than 2 ns. Based on the challenging density and performance requirements, ADLINK chose the AdvancedTCA Extensions for Instrumentation and Test (AXIe) architecture to implement e-beam streaming. This article describes how the AXIe platform was leveraged to achieve these demanding density and synchronization requirements.