Improving Optical Overlay And Measurement


By Adam Ge and Shimon Levi Patterning challenges for the semiconductor industry are growing as the number of multi-patterned layers being used in the 10nm and beyond nodes increase. Patterning requires highly accurate overlay which has always been an issue, but with the added complexities of multi-patterning, smaller dimensions and subsequent tightening overlay error budget, it is now a majo... » read more

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

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

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

Speeding Up Mask Production


Chip production is becoming more complex and expensive at each node. As a result, chipmakers require a growing number of new manufacturing technologies to enable the next wave of devices at advanced nodes. In the fab, for example, the most obvious need is extreme ultraviolet ([gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"]) lithography. In addition, chipmakers also need a new class of atomic-level proces... » read more

Inside Inspection And Metrology


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about inspection, metrology and other issues with Mehdi Vaez-Iravani, vice president of advanced imaging technologies at Applied Materials. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Today, the industry is working on a new range of complex architectures, such as 3D NAND and finFETs. For these technologies, the industry is clearly struggling... » 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

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

Mask Metrology Challenges Grow


Photomasks are becoming more complex at each node. In fact, masks are moving from traditional shapes to non-orthogonal patterns and complex shapes, such as curvilinear mask patterns. To measure patterns and shapes on the mask, photomask makers use traditional critical-dimension scanning electron microscopes (CD-SEMs). In general, the CD-SEM, the workhorse metrology tool in the mask shop, use... » read more

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