Patterning Problems Pile Up


Chipmakers are ramping up 16nm/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm now moving into early production. But at 10nm and beyond, chipmakers are running into a new set of problems. While shrinking feature sizes of a device down to 10nm, 7nm, 5nm and perhaps beyond is possible using current and future fab equipment, there doesn't seem to be a simple way to solve the edge placement error (EPE)... » read more

Following Multiple Patterns


The lithography market is in flux. Today, chipmakers plan to extend today’s 193nm immersion lithography and multi-patterning to at least 10nm and 7nm. For the most critical layers, though, it’s unclear if optical lithography can extend beyond 7nm. For that reason, chipmakers hope to insert extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at 7nm and/or 5nm. To get a handle on the state of patterning, S... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


SPIE news At this week’s SPIE Advanced Lithography conference, the industry paid close attention to the progress of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Here’s the general report card: EUV is making noticeable progress, but there are still some challenges ahead, such as the power source, resists and pellicles. Several issues need to be resolved before chipmakers can put EUV into mass... » read more

Battling Fab Cycle Times


The shift from planar devices to finFETs enables chipmakers to scale their processes and devices from 16nm/14nm and beyond, but the industry faces several challenges at each node. Cost and technical issues are the obvious challenges. In addition, cycle time—a key but less publicized part of the chip-scaling equation—also is increasing at every turn, creating more angst for chipmakers and... » read more

5 Takeaways From ISS


At the recent Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) in Half Moon Bay, Calif., there were a multitude of presentations on a number of subjects. The event, sponsored by SEMI, had presentations on the outlook for ICs and equipment. It also discussed the latest business and technology trends. In no particular order, here are my five takeaways from ISS: Bullish outlook Citing an inventory corre... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 10


Atom interferometers The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has devised one of the world’s most accurate atom interferometers. Interferometry is a common measurement technique. Basically, the technology looks at electromagnetic waves. The waves are superimposed to extract information. One interferometry technology type, called an atom interferometer, utilizes the waves of ato... » read more

Fab Tool Biz Faces Challenges In 2017


After experiencing a gradual recovery and positive growth in 2016, the semiconductor equipment industry sees a mixed picture as well as some uncertainty in 2017. In the near term, though, business is robust. Several chipmakers started to place a sizeable number of fab tool orders in the latter part of 2016, particularly in three areas—3D NAND, logic and foundry. Now, after buying the in... » read more

Inside EUV Resists


Andrew Grenville, chief executive of resist maker Inpria, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about photoresists for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Photoresists are a critical part of lithography. Resists are light-sensitive materials. They form patterns on a surface when exposed to light. For EUV, they are critical. Wha... » read more

More EUV Mask Gaps


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is at a critical juncture. After several delays and glitches, [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] is now targeted for 7nm and/or 5nm. But there are still a number of technologies that must come together before EUV is inserted into mass production. And if the pieces don’t fall into place, EUV could slip again. First, the EUV source must generate more ... » read more

Why EUV Is So Difficult


For years, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography has been a promising technology that was supposed to help enable advanced chip scaling. But after years of R&D, EUV is still not in production despite major backing from the industry, vast resources and billions of dollars in funding. More recently, though, [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] lithography appears to be inching closer to pos... » read more

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