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

Inside Photomask Writing


Hirokazu Yamada, a board member and the director of the Mask Lithography Division of NuFlare, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss photomask technology, e-beam mask writer trends and other topics. NuFlare is the world’s largest supplier of e-beam mask writers. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: How does the [getkc id="265" kc_name="photomask"] market look in... » 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

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

What Happened To Inverse Lithography?


Nearly 10 years ago, the industry rolled out a potentially disruptive technique called inverse lithography technology (ILT). But ILT was ahead of its time, causing the industry to push out the technology and relegate it to niche-oriented applications. Today, though, ILT is getting new attention as the semiconductor industry pushes toward 7nm, and perhaps beyond. ILT is not a next-generation ... » read more

Multi-Beam Market Heats Up


The multi-beam e-beam mask writer business is heating up, as Intel and NuFlare have separately entered the emerging market. In one surprising move, [getentity id="22846" e_name="Intel"] is in the process of acquiring IMS Nanofabrication, a [gettech id="31058" t_name="multi-beam e-beam"] equipment vendor. And separately, e-beam giant NuFlare recently disclosed its new multi-beam mask writer t... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


In a surprising move, Intel is quietly in the process of acquiring IMS Nanofabrication, a developer of multi-beam e-beam tools for mask writing applications, Semiconductor Engineering has learned. With the deal, Intel is moving into uncharted territory by buying a semiconductor equipment company. In the past, though, the chip giant has invested in equipment vendors, such as ASML, Nikon and... » read more

5 Disruptive Mask Technologies


Photomask complexity and costs are increasing at each node, thereby creating a number of challenges on several fronts. On one front, for example, traditional single-beam e-beam tools are struggling to keep up with mask complexity. As a result, the write times and costs continue to rise. Mask complexity also impacts the other parts of the tool flow, such as inspection, metrology and repair. I... » read more

Executive Insight: Elmar Platzgummer


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss photomask and lithography trends with Elmar Platzgummer, chief executive of IMS Nanofabrication, an Austrian-based supplier of multi-beam e-beam tools for mask writing applications. SE: IMS has shipped the world’s first multi-beam e-beam system. Initially targeted for photomask writing, the tools are currently being tested in the field. How lon... » read more

Challenges Mount For EUV Masks


Five years ago, Intel urged the industry to invest millions of dollars in the photomask infrastructure to help enable extreme ultraviolet ([gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"]) lithography. At the time, there were noticeable gaps in EUV, namely defect-free masks and inspection tools. To date, however, Intel’s call to action has produced mixed results. The photomask industry is making progr... » read more

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