PowerVR PMX590 mask

My recent post about PowerVR PMX590 mentioned that I was going to try and get hold of a board and/or test chip for my collection, and hopefully write something about it, since it’s a part in our history that isn’t really known about outside of the company. I didn’t manage to get a test board or chip, which I’m pretty sure don’t exist. What I did manage to get was one of the chip masks, used during the lithography stage of die manufacture to basically etch the wafer material (for just one layer, as far as I understand it anyway) and create the chip itself.

193nm wavelength (UV) light is passed through the mask, using an extremely complex optical assembly, and hits the chip, effectively etching the features. I think I’ve damaged a film layer underneath the mask substrate by handling it improperly (I’ve obviously never handled a chip mask before, lesson learned!), so I’ve not really touched it since getting it and so I don’t have a great many pictures. As soon as I can get better ones taken, I’ll do so.

I’m still working on getting enough history and whatnot on the chip, to write something more substantial about it. There’s a thread at Beyond3D discussing it a bit further.