SPIE Advanced Lithography 2013 – day 3

Day 3 of the Advanced Lithography Symposium saw even more papers on DSA.

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Wednesday was, for me, a busy day since I had two talks to give.  The first was the opening keynote talk at the Design for Manufacturability (DFM) conference entitled “The future of lithography and its impact on design”.  The take-home message was that lithography would become less critical to the success of the industry, and that materials, device architecture, and design would be the key technologies of the future. You can find the presentation here.  Afterwards I was surprised when a few people told me they found my presentation depressing or that they were now polishing up their resumes and thinking about a future career in design.

I saw a few updates on Mapper technology, that massively parallel e-beam technique that, if it works, could provide an important solution for complimentary lithography, especially in the foundry business.  Unfortunately, their first pre-production system, the Matrix 1.1, won’t ship till the second half of this year.  That tool will have over 1,000 beams and run at 1 wafer per hour (as opposed to the 0.002 wph throughput of the current demonstration system).  As with EUV, getting tools with sufficient throughput to enable development is a critical milestone.

I attended a few talks on metrology and resist materials related to line-edge roughness (LER).  They reported small progress, but nothing even close to a breakthrough in either understanding or performance.  LER remains a tough nut to crack.

With several sessions, about 70 papers, a panel, and a short course devoted to directed self assembly (DSA), this topic has definitely turned a corner at the conference.  But with success comes an inevitable problem:  commercial papers.  I heard many complaints from people about papers describing the benefits of “polymer A” over “polymer B”, graphs with no axes numbers, and papers meant to impress rather than inform.  It is certainly a high price of success to trade integrity for profit.


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