Patterning Problems Pile Up


Chipmakers are ramping up 16nm/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm now moving into early production. But at 10nm and beyond, chipmakers are running into a new set of problems. While shrinking feature sizes of a device down to 10nm, 7nm, 5nm and perhaps beyond is possible using current and future fab equipment, there doesn't seem to be a simple way to solve the edge placement error (EPE)... » read more

Fractilia: Pattern Roughness Metrology


A new startup has emerged and unveiled a technology that addresses one of the bigger but less understood problems in advanced lithography--pattern roughness. The startup, called Fractilia, is a software-based metrology tool that analyzes the CD-SEM images of pattern roughness on a wafer. Fractilia, a self-funded startup, is led by Chris Mack and Ed Charrier. Mack, known as the gentleman sc... » read more

BEOL Barricades Ahead


Coventor recently assembled an expert panel at IEDM 2016, to discuss changes to BEOL process technology that would be needed to continue dimensional scaling to 7 nm and lower. Among the questions posed to panelists: What is BEOL? Where does it begin and end? Are there fundamental limits to interconnect processes? How much longer can we continue to use current interconnect processes and te... » read more

Lam, KLA-Tencor Scrap Merger


After a series of delays due to regulatory issues, Lam Research and KLA-Tencor have agreed to terminate their proposed merger agreement. Last year, Lam entered into a definitive agreement to acquire KLA-Tencor for about $10.6 billion. Lam’s proposed and blockbuster move to acquire KLA-Tencor would supposedly create the world’s second largest fab tool maker, behind Applied Materials. O... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tool and material vendors Applied Materials reported its results for the third quarter ended July 31. Net sales of $2.82 billion were up 15% sequentially and up 13% year over year. "AMAT reported impressive upside in July quarter and guided October quarter well ahead of expectations as the company is seeing sizable tailwinds across: 1) WFE uptick driven by foundry and NAND orders; 2) stron... » read more

200mm Equipment Shortfall


A surge in demand for consumer electronics, communications ICs, sensors and other products has created a shortage in 200mm fab capacity that shows no signs of abating. None of these chips need to be manufactured using the most advanced processes, and there have been enough tweaks to processes at established nodes to eke even more out of existing processes. But that has left chipmakers strugg... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools Applied Materials has officially rolled out the Producer Selectra system, a selective etch tool. The system falls under the loosely defined category called atomic layer etch (ALE). Applied’s technology addresses a number of challenges. Today’s advanced chips have complex structures. They may also have deep and narrow trenches. One of the challenges is the inability of wet ... » read more

Atomic Layer Etch Heats Up


The atomic layer etch (ALE) market is starting to heat up as chipmakers push to 10nm and beyond. ALE is a promising next-generation etch technology that has been in R&D for the last several years, but until now there has been little or no need to use it. Unlike conventional etch tools, which remove materials on a continuous basis, ALE promises to selectively and precisely remove targete... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tool vendors In terms of sales for 2015, Applied Materials retained the No. 1 position in the wafer fab equipment (WFE) market with 1.3% growth last year, according to Garnter. Lam Research experienced the strongest growth of the top 10 vendors in 2015, moving into the No. 2 position. In the rankings, Lam jumped ahead of ASML and TEL. ASML was in third place, followed in order by TEL, KLA-... » read more

Ready For Nanoimprint?


Nanoimprint has been discussed, debated, and hyped since the term was first introduced in 1996. Now, a full 20 years later, it is being taken much more seriously in light of increasing photomask costs and delays in bringing alternatives to market. Nanoimprint lithography is something like a room-temperature UV cure embossing process. The structures are patterned onto a template or mold using... » read more

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