Can We Measure Next-Gen FinFETs?


After ramping up their respective 16nm/14nm finFET processes, chipmakers are moving towards 10nm and/or 7nm, with 5nm in R&D. But as they move down the process roadmap, they will face a new set of fab challenges. In addition to lithography and interconnects, there is metrology. Metrology, the science of measurements, is used to characterize tiny films and structures. It helps to boost yi... » read more

Measuring Atoms And Beyond


David Seiler, chief of the Engineering Physics Division within the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the current and future directions of metrology. NIST, a physical science laboratory, is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: W... » 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

Flash Dance For Inspection And Metrology


Chipmakers are moving from planar technology to an assortment of 3D-like architectures, such as 3D NAND and finFETs For these devices, chipmakers face a multitude of challenges in the fab. But one surprising and oft-forgotten technology is emerging as perhaps the biggest challenge in both logic and memory—process control. Process control includes metrology and wafer inspection. Metrolo... » read more

Searching For 3D Metrology


In the previous decade, chipmakers made a bold but necessary decision to select the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] as the next transistor architecture for the IC industry. Over time, though, chipmakers discovered that the finFET would present some challenges in the fab. Deposition, etch and lithography were the obvious hurdles, but chipmakers also saw a big gap in metrology. In fact,... » read more

Challenges Mount In Inspection And Metrology


Chipmakers are moving full speed ahead toward smaller process nodes, thereby driving up the costs and complexities in chip manufacturing. The migrations also are putting enormous stress on nearly all points of the fab flow, including a critical but unsung part of the business—process control. Process control involves 20 or so different segments in the inspection and metrology arena. Genera... » read more

Waiting For 3D Metrology


By Mark LaPedus Over the years, suppliers of metrology equipment have managed to meet the requirements for conventional planar chips. But tool vendors now find themselves behind in the emerging 3D chip era, prompting the urgent need for a new class of 3D metrology gear. 3D is a catch-all phrase that includes a range of new architectures, such as finFET transistors, 3D NAND and stacked-die ... » read more

Wanted: New Metrology Funding Models


By Mark LaPedus The shift toward the 20nm node and beyond will require new and major breakthroughs in chip manufacturing. Most of the attention centers around lithography, gate stacks, interconnects, strain engineering and design-for-manufacturing (DFM). Lost in the conversation are two other critical but overlooked pieces in the manufacturing puzzle—wafer inspection and metrology. ... » read more

Swimming In Data


By Ed Sperling So many warnings about data overload have been issued over the past decade that people generally have stopped paying attention to them. The numbers are so astronomical that increases tend to lose meaning. Nowhere is this more evident than in the semiconductor metrology world, where files are measured in gigabytes. And at each new process node, as the number of transistors a... » read more

More Photons Are Good


By Michael P.C. Watts Scatterometry is the favored approach to monitor complex 3D nano-structures in production. At SPIE Advanced Lithography, KLA introduced a new generation of their scatterometry metrology system. The new system expands the number of different measurements; know internally as multi-multi-multi. Scatterometry relies on measuring the diffraction patterns from a test diffr... » read more