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GDSII lithography mask import into labview


we use a self-made pattern generator to perform electron beam lithography inside a scanning electron microscope. Our pattern generator is entirely written in LabView 2011. So far we have manually programmed every EBL mask in a self-made mask designing LabView tool. Things are becoming more and more complicated now and manual programming is too time consuming. We would like to import GDSII format files into our LabView tool to speed up mask creation using professional GDSII mask creation software. Does anyone know if there are GDSII file importers for LabView?

Any help is much appreciated.


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Message 1 of 5

Hi @blablu,


Just after a quick research, I do not see any out-of-the-shelf solution that would be available from NI side. Wikipedia states that there are available converters to some more common formats. Were you maybe considering this as some middle step to be able to import data in different format?


Best Regards,
Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA)

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LabVIEW not really being in the business of Semiconductor Lithography directly (though companies like ASML use it internally very extensively) I doubt there is a finished library out there that would support this format. There might be people having worked on something like that but not able or willing to give it out for free. On the other hand selling a library like that is really almost an impossibility. The possible earnings for such a thing never ever could offset the extra effort of even trying to create a decent documentation for the library, not to forget of other costs to make a library usable for the general public.

Looking at the standard, it doesn't seem to be a particular complicated format, although it is binary in nature. But it does support quite a bit of structure elements and data types, which makes it a non-trivial task to create a LabVIEW data-type format to represent it after it has been loaded into memory. I would expect that this initial design for representing the various data in memory in an easy to manage form, is probably the most time consuming part of such a project.

LabVIEW being perfectly able to deal with binary file data, it is certainly possible to create such a library. But considering the niche market I would guess, it would be you who needs to do that yourself.

Rolf Kalbermatter
Averna BV
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Message 3 of 5

You could try to convert GDSII to ASCII or DXF or other popular formats.  Then look for LabVIEW code for those formats. 


I suspect it would be easiest to write your own LabVIEW code to implement the ASCII coordinates.  E-beam Litho is usually only a single layer of the GDSII file, so the ASCII file would be fairly simple I imagine.


There are GDSII to ASCII tools out there like -




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Message 4 of 5

Thanks for the feedback. I will first look into some of the converters to get an idea of what I'm dealing with. Maybe I will raise more questions on this later again.

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