CIF2SVG Converter: Web Publishing Tool for

Micromachining and Integrated Circuit Technology



Hanjin Cho and M. Parameswaran (Ash)

Institute of Micromachine and Microfabrication Research

School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University

Burnaby, BC (V5A 1S6)


Micromachining, an offshoot of integrated circuit technology is revolutionizing the modern day instrumentation.  In the design of micromachines as well as integrated circuit devices, design data is most commonly communicated using a file format called Caltech Intermediate Format (CIF).  Particularly for micromachining, visualization of the intended device is very important.  Currently, to enable good visualization various features such as pan, zoom, and rotation are available only in expensive industrial CAD software packages.  Moreover, presenting micromachine designs on the web is usually done by capturing the image of the design on the screen and embedding the image into a HTML document.  This manual process of capture-and-paste is a time-consuming task and often cannot illustrate detailed information of the design.  Because the resolution of the screen-captured image is fixed, the image cannot be zoomed in and out interactively.  Thus, if more detailed information is required for certain area of the design, several screen shots have to be taken for each zooming step.


We propose to develop software that enables users to automatically convert CIF files to Scalable Vector Graphics.  Our software will extract geometry data of micromachines or integrated circuits from a CIF file and generate a faultless output in the SVG format.  The converted design in SVG format can be viewed using SVG viewers such as Adobe SVG Viewer or Batik.  Furthermore, in the SVG viewer, designers can perform various display features such as panning, zooming and switching on and off photomask layers.  The basic shapes provided by the SVG covers all the geometry description statement in the CIF.  During the conversion, document structure elements in SVG such as def, symbol and use can be used to preserve the mask level and hierarchy information in the integrated circuit and micromachine design in CIF.


Proposed software provides a simple solution to designers for publishing and presenting micromachine and integrated circuit designs on the web.    By utilizing a web-browser based SVG viewer, remote access to design viewing and design verification can be done.  This remote access feature will enable collaborations between research groups across the world.  Since the converted design data is in XML format, any text editor can be used to modify the design rather than using expensive and complicated CAD software.


Our presentation will be a demo of this software for several of our micromachine and integrated circuits designs.  Screen shots of the design captured from conventional CAD software will be compared with SVG converted images.