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

FD-SOI Strains For The Future


One of the challenges facing supporters of FD-SOI is the need to provide a pathway to improved performance. While FD-SOI wafers offer some significant advantages over bulk silicon wafers, performance enhancements like strain and alternative channel materials are more difficult to implement in the thin SOI environment. On the other hand, once a fab is willing to incorporate layer transfer techni... » read more

TSVs: Copper, Silicon, And CTE Mismatch


As previous articles in this series have discussed, advanced packages introduce new materials and new reliability concerns. Diffusion into solder bumps can create brittle, high resistance, intermetallic compounds. Heat transfer through an interposer can degrade the lifetime of even cool, low power chips. Still, through-silicon vias are unique in that they cut directly through the integrated cir... » read more

Building A Better Resonator


The resonant frequency of a beam depends on the mass and stiffness of the beam. Resonance has always been important in the design of musical instruments and amplification systems, as well as the design of bridges and buildings. With the advent of MEMS fabrication techniques, though, came the ability to create very small beams, in the micron or nanometer size range, with resonant frequencies... » read more

Managing ALD Effluent


Process designers tend to not think very much about the waste gases from their processes. The chamber exhaust sends the effluent gases to the fab scrubbers, and that is pretty much that. Except when it’s not. It turns out that the design of the ALD process can make life significantly more challenging for the chamber exhaust pumps. In atomic layer deposition, the first precursor gas, su... » 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

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