Industry Luminaries Highlight Opportunities For Advancing The Non-EUV Leading Edge


The eBeam Initiative’s 12th annual Luminaries survey in 2023 reported a range of nodes from >5nm to 14nm as the most advanced non-EUV nodes using 193i lithography. A panel of semiconductor photomask and lithography experts debated several of the survey results, including this one, to provide more insights behind the results. Aki Fujimura, CEO of D2S, Inc., the managing company sponsor of t... » read more

Why Curvy Design Now? Less Change Than You Think And Manufacturable Today


A curvilinear (curvy) chip, if magically made possible, would be smaller, faster, and use less power. Magic is no longer needed on the manufacturing side, as companies like Micron Technology are making photomasks with curvy shapes using state-of-the-art multi-beam mask writers today. Yet the entire chip-design infrastructure is based on the Manhattan assumption of 90-degree turns, even though i... » read more

Reflections On Photomask Japan 2023: Embracing The Era Of Curvilinear Masks


In April, 2023, I had the privilege of participating in Photomask Japan 2023 (PMJ2023), a web conference that brought together experts and enthusiasts in the field. The conference commenced with an enlightening keynote talk by Dr. Kurt Ronse of imec on the status and challenges of the high NA EUV ecosystem, presenting roadmaps for the introduction of high NA EUV. I would like to express my grat... » read more

Multi-Beam Mask Writers Are A Game Changer


The eBeam Initiative’s 11th annual Luminaries survey in 2022 reported strong purchasing predictions for multi-beam mask writers, enabling both EUV and curvilinear photomask growth. A panel of experts debated remaining barriers to curvilinear photomask adoption during an event co-located with the SPIE Photomask Technology Conference in late September. Industry luminaries representing 44 compan... » read more

The Changing Mask Landscape


Semiconductor photomasks have undergone some major technology changes in the past few years after relatively minor changes for many years. New technologies such as multi-beam mask writers and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography are major breakthroughs as they ramp into high-volume manufacturing. A new trend related to these technologies is the use of curvilinear features on photomasks. Aki... » read more

Luminaries See Growth Opportunities For Photomask Writers


Multi-beam mask writers (MBMWs) are the new kid on the block of the photomask writers, so growth predictions aren’t surprising. In fact, 90% of the industry luminaries surveyed by the eBeam Initiative think that new MBMW purchases will increase over the next three years, as shown in figure 1. Looking at that chart, industry luminaries predict sales of new photomask writers to increase across ... » read more

Curvilinear Design Benefits For Wafers


Throughout this blog series the focus has been on curvilinear photomasks – the benefits, enablers, and challenges. It leads to the obvious question that Aki Fujimura, CEO of D2S, put to the panel of luminaries. If leading-edge mask shops are ready for curvilinear shapes on mask enabled by curvilinear ILT, multi-beam mask writers and the mask design chain, can we have curvilinear target shapes... » read more

Optimizing VSB Shot Count For Curvilinear Masks


The increased photomask write time using a variable-shape e-beam (VSB) writer has been a barrier to the adoption of inverse lithography technology (ILT) beyond the limited usage for hot spots. The second installment of this video blog looked at the challenge in depth. In this five-minute panel video with industry luminaries, Ezequiel Russell describes the collaborative study between his company... » read more

What About Mask Rule Checking For Curvilinear Photomasks?


The entire photomask design chain needs to be considered in the adoption of curvilinear photomasks. A broad look at the ecosystem impact was addressed in a previous video but a more in-depth look at the design chain of photomasks raises the next question – will MRC be harder and take more time? Aki Fujimura of D2S opens the nine-minute panel video with industry luminaries by providing a conce... » read more

How Will The Adoption Of Curvilinear Masks Affect Turnaround Time?


Turnaround time (TAT) for photomask makers has historically increased at smaller and smaller process nodes, as reported in the eBeam Initiative Mask Makers surveys, so it’s important to look at the impact of curvilinear masks on TAT. In this sixth installment of our blog series on curvilinear masks, Aki Fujimura of D2S explores this question with luminaries in the industry during a video pane... » read more

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