Exploring New Scaling Approaches


At the recent SPIE Photomask Technology + Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography 2017 conference, Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss semiconductor technology with Tsu-Jae King Liu, the TSMC Distinguished Professor in Microelectronics in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley. More specifically, Liu discussed some of the new... » read more

Searching For EUV Mask Defects


Chipmakers hope to insert extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at 7nm and/or 5nm, but several challenges need to be solved before this technology can be used in production. One lingering issue that is becoming more worrisome is how to find [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] mask defects. That isn't the only issue, of course. The industry continues to work on the power source and resists. Bu... » read more

Improving Optical Overlay And Measurement


By Adam Ge and Shimon Levi Patterning challenges for the semiconductor industry are growing as the number of multi-patterned layers being used in the 10nm and beyond nodes increase. Patterning requires highly accurate overlay which has always been an issue, but with the added complexities of multi-patterning, smaller dimensions and subsequent tightening overlay error budget, it is now a majo... » read more

What’s Up With MEMS?


New sensor technologies, and smarter ways of integrating more intelligence, continue to generate unexpected opportunities in the changing MEMS business. Changes needed for sensors for context awareness If digital assistants are ever going to be really useful, they’ll need some particular sensor capabilities to understand emotion, suggests Lama Nachman, head of Intel’s Anticipatory Compu... » read more

MEMS Market Shifting


The MEMS sector is beginning to look more promising, bolstered by new end-market demand and different packaging options that require more advanced engineering, processes and new materials. All of this points to higher selling prices, which are long overdue in this space. For years, the market for microelectromechanical systems was populated by too many companies vying for too few opportunit... » read more

Controlling Uniformity At The Edge


Chipmakers want every part of the wafer to produce, or yield, good die. Advances in process technologies over the years have just about made this a reality, even as feature dimensions continue to shrink and devices grow ever more complex. Now, the last frontier is improving yields at the edge of the wafer – the outer 10 mm or so – where chemical, physical, and even thermal discontinuitie... » read more

Reducing BEOL Parasitic Capacitance Using Air Gaps


Reducing back-end-of-line (BEOL) interconnect parasitic capacitance remains a focus for advanced technology node development. Porous low-k dielectric materials have been used to achieve reduced capacitance, however, these materials remain fragile and prone to reliability concerns. More recently, air gap has been successfully incorporated into 14nm technology [1], and numerous schemes have b... » read more

Next-Gen Mask Writer Race Begins


Competition is heating up in the mask writer equipment business as two vendors—Intel/IMS and NuFlare—vie for position in the new and emerging multi-beam tool segment. Last year, Intel surprised the industry by acquiring IMS Nanofabrication, a multi-beam e-beam mask writer equipment vendor. Also last year, IMS, now part of Intel, began shipping the world’s first multi-beam mask writer f... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 17


WIMP dark matter detector The LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) Group has taken another step towards finding an elusive part of the universe—dark matter. The LZ Group consists of 250 scientists and engineers from 37 institutions in the U.S., U.K., Portugal, Russia and Korea. In 2012, the group built the so-called Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter detector. The detector is based on a 370 kilogram ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Materials and equipment A scandal has rocked Japan’s Kobe Steel. The company disclosed that it has falsified inspection data for iron powder, aluminum and copper products that were sent to over 200 customers in the automotive, electronics, transportation and other sectors. The falsified data involves 20,000 tones of products, according to reports. Kobe apologized for the issues and provided ... » read more

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