Big Changes In Patterning


Aki Fujimura, CEO of [getentity id="22864" comment="D2S"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss patterning issues at 10nm and below, including mask alignment, the need for GPU acceleration, EUV's future impact on the total number of masks, and what the re-introduction of curvilinear shapes will mean for design. SE: Patterning issues are getting a lot of attention at 10nm and 7n... » read more

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

Will EUV Kill Multi-Patterning?


When I first began working on double-patterning (DP) tools back in late 2010, there was already talk that it might be a fruitless, or at a minimum, very short-lived project, as extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography was just around the corner and would make all multi-patterning (MP) obsolete. Well, as I begin my seventh year on this project, I can hear echoes of Mark Twain as clearly, the report... » 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

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

Mask Maker Worries Grow


Leading-edge photomask makers face a multitude of challenges as they migrate from the 14nm node and beyond. Mask making is becoming more challenging and expensive at each node on at least two fronts. On one front, mask makers must continue to invest in the development of traditional optical masks at advanced nodes. On another front, several photomask vendors are preparing for the possible ra... » read more

7nm Fab Challenges


Leading-edge foundry vendors have made the challenging transition from traditional planar processes into the finFET transistor era. The first [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFETs"] were based on the 22nm node, and now the industry is ramping up 16nm/14nm technologies. Going forward, the question is how far the finFET can be scaled. In fact, 10nm finFETs from Samsung are expected to ramp by ye... » 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

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

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

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