Can We Measure Next-Gen FinFETs?


After ramping up their respective 16nm/14nm finFET processes, chipmakers are moving towards 10nm and/or 7nm, with 5nm in R&D. But as they move down the process roadmap, they will face a new set of fab challenges. In addition to lithography and interconnects, there is metrology. Metrology, the science of measurements, is used to characterize tiny films and structures. It helps to boost yi... » read more

Measuring FinFETs Will Get Harder


The industry is gradually migrating toward chips based on finFET transistors at 16nm/14nm and beyond, but manufacturing those finFETs is proving to be a daunting challenge in the fab. Patterning is the most difficult process for finFETs. But another process, metrology, is fast becoming one of the biggest challenges for the next-generation transistor technology. In fact, [getkc id="252" kc_n... » read more

Fab Issues At 7nm And 5nm


The race toward the 7nm logic node officially kicked off in July, when IBM Research, GlobalFoundries and Samsung jointly rolled out what the companies claim are the industry’s first 7nm test chips with functional transistors. They're not alone, of course. Intel and TSMC also are racing separately to develop 7nm technology. And in the R&D labs, chipmakers also are working on technologies f... » read more

10nm Fab Challenges


After a promising start in 2015, the semiconductor equipment industry is currently experiencing a slight lull. The pause is expected to be short-lived, however. Suppliers of [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] devices are expected to add more fab capacity later this year. And about the same time, foundries are expected to order the first wave of high-volume production tools for 10nm. At 10nm... » read more

Waiting For Next-Gen Metrology


Chipmakers continue to march down the various process nodes, but the industry will require new breakthroughs to extend IC scaling at 10nm and beyond. In fact, the industry will require innovations in at least two main areas—patterning and the [getkc id="36" comment="Interconnect"]. There are other areas of concern, but one technology is quickly rising near the top of the list—metrology.... » read more

Searching For 3D Metrology


In the previous decade, chipmakers made a bold but necessary decision to select the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] as the next transistor architecture for the IC industry. Over time, though, chipmakers discovered that the finFET would present some challenges in the fab. Deposition, etch and lithography were the obvious hurdles, but chipmakers also saw a big gap in metrology. In fact,... » read more

Gaps In Metrology Could Impact Yield


For some time, chipmakers have been developing new and complex chip architectures, such as 3D NAND, finFETs and stacked die. But manufacturing these types of chips is no simple task. It requires a robust fab flow to enable new IC designs with good yields. In fact, yield is becoming a more critical part of the flow. Yield is a broad term that means different things to different parts of the ... » read more

Waiting For 3D Metrology


By Mark LaPedus Over the years, suppliers of metrology equipment have managed to meet the requirements for conventional planar chips. But tool vendors now find themselves behind in the emerging 3D chip era, prompting the urgent need for a new class of 3D metrology gear. 3D is a catch-all phrase that includes a range of new architectures, such as finFET transistors, 3D NAND and stacked-die ... » read more