The Race To 10/7nm


Amid the ongoing ramp of 16/14nm processes in the market, the industry is now gearing up for the next nodes. In fact, GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are racing each other to ship 10nm and/or 7nm technologies. The current iterations of 10nm and 7nm technologies are scaled versions of today’s 16nm/14nm finFETs with traditional copper interconnects, high-k/metal-gate and low-k diele... » read more

Inside Next-Gen Transistors


David Fried, chief technology officer at [getentity id="22210" e_name="Coventor"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the IC industry, China, scaling, transistors and process technology. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: In a recent roundtable discussion you talked about some of the big challenges facing the IC industry. One of your big concerns involves th... » read more

Transferring Skills Getting Harder


Rising complexity in developing chips at advanced nodes, and an almost perpetual barrage of new engineering challenges at each new node, are making it more difficult for everyone involved to maintain consistent skill levels across a growing number of interrelated technologies. The result is that engineers are being forced to specialize, but when they work with other engineers with different ... » 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

Interconnect Challenges Rising


Chipmakers are ramping up their 14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm slated to ship possibly later this year or next. At 10nm and beyond, IC vendors are determined to scale the two main parts of the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] structure—the transistor and interconnects. Generally, transistor scaling will remain challenging at advanced nodes. And on top of that, the interconnects ... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Grow


It’s becoming apparent that traditional chip scaling is slowing down. The 16nm/14nm logic node took longer than expected to unfold. And the 10nm node and beyond could suffer the same fate. So what’s the main cause? It’s hard to pinpoint the problem, although many blame the issues on lithography. But what could eventually hold up the scaling train, and undo Moore’s Law, is arguably t... » read more

Will 7nm And 5nm Really Happen?


Today’s silicon-based finFETs could run out of steam at 10nm. If or when chipmakers move beyond 10nm, IC vendors will require a new transistor architecture. III-V finFETs, gate-all-around FETs, quantum well finFETs, SOI finFETs and vertical nanowires are just a few of the future transistor candidates at 7nm and 5nm. Technically, it’s possible to manufacture the transistor portions of the... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Grow


Qualcomm outlined the technology challenges facing mobile chip suppliers at a recent event. In no particular order, the challenges include the usual suspects—area scaling, power reduction, performance and cost. Another concern for Qualcomm is an often-overlooked part of the equation—the backend-of-the-line (BEOL). In chip production, the BEOL is where the interconnects are formed within ... » read more