ASML To Buy Hermes


Looking to expand into new markets, ASML Holding has entered into an agreement to acquire e-beam wafer inspection specialist Hermes Microvision (HMI) in a cash transaction valued at 2.75 billion euros (US$3.08 billion). With the proposed acquisition of Taiwan’s HMI, ASML will enter two new markets—-wafer inspection as well as mask inspection for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. In ... » read more

Is EUV Making Progress?


By Ann Steffora Mutschler & Ed Sperling EUV has been promised for a couple of decades, counted on for at least three process nodes on the ITRS roadmap, and considered essential to chip manufacturing since 22nm. Billions of dollars have been invested in R&D, engineering teams from around the world have contributed to its development, and still serious problems persist. Just how close... » read more

Not All Scientific Problems Can Be Solved


In the early part of the 20th century psychologist Karl Lashley set out to locate and study the engram, the memory storage center for the human brain. He never found it. In fact, he ended up disproving the theory that an engram even exists, which was far more important to the understanding of the brain than if he had proven the existence of an engram. The results of more than six decades of ... » read more

Tighter CD Requires Tighter Laser Bandwidth


Concerns that the bandwidth of the light source for optical lithography can affect pattern quality are not new. No lens material is completely free from chromatic aberration: the refractive index varies with wavelength, and so different wavelengths will focus at different points. Chromatic aberration became a much less serious concern with the replacement of broadband mercury lamps with lase... » read more

Advanced Lithography: Moore’s Law Moves On


Every February, experts in nano patterning technologies converge in San Jose, Calif., to present their road maps, brainstorms and results at the SPIE Advanced Lithography Symposium. This year, there was more confusion than ever, partly the result of sessions in unlabeled (but beautiful) new ballrooms at the Convention Center, but mostly because of industry divergences. There is no longer a s... » read more

Reaching For The Reset Button In Lithography


By Mark LaPedus Amid ongoing delays and setbacks, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and multi-beam e-beam have both missed the 10nm logic node. So for the present, chipmakers must take the brute force route at 10nm by using 193nm immersion with multiple patterning. Now, it’s time to hit the reset button. For the 7nm node, chipmakers currently are lining up the lithographic competition... » read more

Cymer’s EUV Team Has An Exciting Few Months


By Michael P.C. Watts At SPIE Advanced Lithography, Cymer announced some serious progress in EUV source development, one of several highlights. The latest results provided 40W of power in runs over 8 hours that mimicked full productions conditions including dose control. As far as I can tell, 40w translates to around 30 - 300 mm wafers an hour. The Cymer source uses a CO2 laser with 3 ampli... » read more

Optical Lithography, Take Two


By Mark LaPedus It’s the worst-kept secret in the industry. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography has missed the initial stages of the 10nm logic and 1xnm NAND flash nodes. Chipmakers hope to insert EUV by the latter stages of 10nm or by 7nm, but vendors are not counting on EUV in the near term and are preparing their back-up plans. Barring a breakthrough with EUV or other technology, IC ... » read more

Moore’s Law Revisited


It’s no surprise that Moore’s Law can continue for many more generations. Intel’s road map already extends down to 5nm, most likely with carbon nanotube FETs, tunnel FETs, graphene TSVs and maybe even fully depleted SOI to replace bulk CMOS. The rest of the industry has been hanging back a node or two, gliding on the coattails of what Intel and companies like IBM, Samsung and STMicroel... » read more

Challenges Grow For EUV


By Mark LaPedus In the late 1990s, a group led by Intel launched a consortium to propel extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography into the mainstream. Originally, the consortium, dubbed the EUV LLC, envisioned the advent of EUV scanners that would move into production at the 65nm node. Clearly, the now-defunct consortium underestimated the difficulties and challenges associated with EUV. ASM... » read more

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