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

Yield Ramp Challenges Increase


As semiconductor manufacturing moves down to smaller process nodes, there’s no doubt that it is increasingly difficult to ramp both test and manufacturing yields. One reason for this is simply scale. Smaller nodes translate into more steps and greater complexity in the manufacturing process, with attendant process variations. “Smaller process nodes increase the amount of embedded mem... » read more

Mask Hotspots Are Escaping The Mask Shop


Although the overwhelming majority of wafer production issues at the 28nm-and- below process nodes are lithography- and OPC-related, the semiconductor industry is starting to see problems caused by mask hotspots: wafer-level production issues that are caused when the shapes specified by optical proximity correction (OPC) are not faithfully reproduced on the mask. Mask hotspots will account for ... » read more

A Study Of Model-Based Etch Bias Retarget For OPC


Model-based optical proximity correction is usually used to compensate for the pattern distortion during the microlithography process. Currently, almost all the lithography effects, such as the proximity effects from the limited NA, the 3D mask effects due to the shrinking critical dimension, the photo resist effects, and some other well known physical process, can all be well considered into m... » read more