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

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

Lam To Acquire KLA-Tencor

In a major and surprising move in the fab tool business, Lam Research has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire KLA-Tencor for about $10.6 billion in cash and stock. Lam’s proposed move to acquire KLA-Tencor would create a powerhouse in the fab tool industry. The combined company will have approximately $8.7 billion in annual revenue, propelling it to become the world’s second l... » 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

Pick A Number

For the past two years there was some mumbling that 16/14nm would be short-lived, and that 10nm would be the place that foundries would invest heavily. Now the buzz is that 10nm may be skipped entirely and the next node will be 7nm. After all, 10nm is really only a half-node. Or is it? The answer depends on who's defining 10nm. The 16/14nm node is based on a 20nm back-end-of-line process, un... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: August 4

Diamond metrology The U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory is building a new instrument called an optical magnetometer. The system will help researchers understand the properties of new magnetic nanomaterials. The system, dubbed the NV-magnetoscope, makes use of the properties of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamonds. According to researchers, diamonds have a flaw, or imperfect... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 21

Graphene metrology Harvard University, Monash University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new technique that provides atomic-scale images of colloidal nanoparticles. The technique, dubbed SINGLE, stands for 3D Structure Identification of Nanoparticles by Graphene Liquid Cell Electron Microscopy. Using the technology, researchers ha... » read more

In-Die Registration Measurement Using Novel Model-Based Approach For Advanced Technology Masks

In recent years, 193nm immersion lithography has been extended instead of adopting EUV lithography. And multi-patterning technology is now widely applied, which requires tighter specification as the pattern size gets smaller on advanced semiconductor devices. Regarding the mask registration metrology, it is necessary to consider some difficult challenges like tight repeatability and complex In-... » read more

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