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

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

10nm Fab Challenges

After a promising start in 2015, the semiconductor equipment industry is currently experiencing a slight lull. The pause is expected to be short-lived, however. Suppliers of [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] devices are expected to add more fab capacity later this year. And about the same time, foundries are expected to order the first wave of high-volume production tools for 10nm. At 10nm... » 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