The Limits Of The Lifecycle


In the first article in my series on sustainability, I cited one estimate that attributed most of the electricity consumed by an integrated circuit to manufacturing, not use. Other analyses, however, come to exactly the opposite conclusion, with above 90% of lifetime energy consumption accounted for by the use phase. How can that be? The glib answer is that industry efforts to build more eff... » read more

Think Globally, Act Globally


For the last several months, I’ve been working on a series of articles about sustainable manufacturing in the semiconductor industry. How can we, as an industry, reduce our environmental footprint? It’s a big topic, and it’s been challenging to find concrete examples of ways fabs can reduce power consumption, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll address these topics in ... » read more

EUV Resists Move Forward


Improvements in EUV exposure sources and exposure tools are shifting the industry’s focus to other components of the lithography process. As noted last year, one of the key areas is photoresists. But advanced photoresists face significant challenges, due to the need to balance sensitivity, etch selectivity, and resolution. This year’s SPIE Advanced Lithography conference featured promis... » read more

Coming To A Fab Near You?


What do Quentin Tarantino and ASML have in common? Anamorphic lenses. The optical image created by an anamorphic lens is oval, rather than round, with different magnifications along the horizontal and vertical axes. Tarantino used 65mm anamorphic lenses to film The Hateful Eight, and some theaters are also using them to screen the movie. It’s the first fiction feature to use this format s... » read more

The Next Resists…Continued


As previously discussed, conventional chemically-amplified resists are struggling to balance the competing requirements of EUV lithography. Simultaneously meeting the industry’s targets for resolution, sensitivity, and line-edge roughness may require new resist concepts. Inpria’s resist technology, based on tin-oxide nano clusters, is one possibility. Recently published work at SUNY Albany ... » read more

Quantum Entanglement Test


One of the more bizarre implications of quantum theory is the so-called “spooky action at a distance” effect. If two quantum particles are entangled, measuring the state of one simultaneously defines the state of the other, regardless of the distance between them. This behavior appears to defy the rule that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light: information regarding the stat... » read more

What’s Really Causing Line-Edge Roughness?


As previously discussed, shot noise is an important contributor to line edge roughness. However, as the title of one paper on the subject put it, “Do not always blame the photons.” The line edge roughness of a chemically amplified resist ultimately depends on photoacid generation and the deprotection of the resist’s base monomers. Photons absorbed by the resist simply trigger a chain ... » read more

Resist Sensitivity, Source Power, And EUV Throughput


In a recent article, I quoted 15 mJ/cm2 as the target sensitivity for EUV photoresists, and discussed the throughput that could be achieved at various source power levels. However, as a commenter on that article pointed out, reaching the 15 mJ/cm² target while also meeting line roughness requirements is itself a challenging problem. Because of the high energy of EUV photons, a highly sensitive... » read more

DSA Defects Continue Downward Trend


As previously discussed, the majority of defects in early directed self-assembly (DSA) processes were due to particles and other contaminants, and could be attributed to the immaturity of the process and materials. As manufacturers consider whether to incorporate DSA into specific technology nodes, they need to assure themselves that production-worthy yields can be achieved. Recent research at ... » read more

Tighter CD Requires Tighter Laser Bandwidth


Concerns that the bandwidth of the light source for optical lithography can affect pattern quality are not new. No lens material is completely free from chromatic aberration: the refractive index varies with wavelength, and so different wavelengths will focus at different points. Chromatic aberration became a much less serious concern with the replacement of broadband mercury lamps with lase... » read more

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