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

Overcoming Shallow Trench Isolation

By Kathryn Ta To prevent electrical current leaking between adjacent transistors, state-of-the-art microchips feature shallow trench isolation (STI) to isolate transistors from each other. Key steps in the STI process involve etching a pattern of trenches in the silicon, depositing dielectric materials to fill the trenches, and removing the excess dielectric using technologies such as chemical... » read more