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

Mask Maker Worries Grow


Photomasks are becoming more complex and expensive at each node, thereby creating a number of challenges on several fronts. For one thing, the features on the [getkc id="265" kc_name="photomask"] are becoming smaller and more complex at each node. Second, the number of masks per mask-set are increasing as a result of multiple patterning. Third, it costs more to build and equip a new mask fab... » read more

Speeding Up Mask Production


Chip production is becoming more complex and expensive at each node. As a result, chipmakers require a growing number of new manufacturing technologies to enable the next wave of devices at advanced nodes. In the fab, for example, the most obvious need is extreme ultraviolet ([gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"]) lithography. In addition, chipmakers also need a new class of atomic-level proces... » read more

Inside Inspection And Metrology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about inspection, metrology and other issues with Mehdi Vaez-Iravani, vice president of advanced imaging technologies at Applied Materials. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Today, the industry is working on a new range of complex architectures, such as 3D NAND and finFETs. For these technologies, the industry is clearly struggling... » 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

Taming Mask Metrology


For years the IC industry has worried about a bevy of issues with the photomask. Mask costs are the top concern, but mask complexity, write times and defect inspection are the other key issues for both optical and EUV photomasks. Now, mask metrology, the science of measuring the key parameters on the mask, is becoming a new challenge. On this front, mask makers are concerned about the critic... » read more

Mask Metrology Challenges Grow


Photomasks are becoming more complex at each node. In fact, masks are moving from traditional shapes to non-orthogonal patterns and complex shapes, such as curvilinear mask patterns. To measure patterns and shapes on the mask, photomask makers use traditional critical-dimension scanning electron microscopes (CD-SEMs). In general, the CD-SEM, the workhorse metrology tool in the mask shop, use... » read more

Tech Talk: Wafer Plane Analysis


Leo Pang, executive vice president at D2S, talks about the problems of patterning at 40nm and below and how to deal with them more effectively using existing equipment. [youtube vid=FbRyhw2q3fE] » read more

Getting Over Overlay


Chipmakers continue to migrate to the next node, but there are signs that traditional IC scaling is slowing down. So what’s causing the slowdown? Or for that matter, what could ultimately undo [getkc id="74" comment="Moore's Law"]? It could be a combination of factors. To be sure, IC design costs and complexity are soaring at each node. Scaling challenges are also playing a role. And ov... » 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

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