Searching For EUV Mask Defects


Chipmakers hope to insert extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at 7nm and/or 5nm, but several challenges need to be solved before this technology can be used in production. One lingering issue that is becoming more worrisome is how to find [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] mask defects. That isn't the only issue, of course. The industry continues to work on the power source and resists. Bu... » read more

Devices Threatened By Analog Content?


As the amount of analog content in connected devices explodes, ensuring that the analog portion works properly has taken on a new level of urgency. Analog circuitry is required for interpreting the physical world and for moving data to other parts of the system, while digital circuitry is the fastest way to process it. So a sensor that gives a faulty reading in a car moving at high speed or ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 4


Solar battery Chemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia integrated solar cells with a large-capacity battery in a single device that eliminates the usual intermediate step of making electricity and, instead, transfers the energy directly to the battery's electrolyte. The team used a redox flow battery, or R... » read more

New Drivers For Test


Mention Design for Test (DFT) and scan chains come to mind, but there is much more to it than that—and the rules of the game are changing. New application areas such as automotive may breathe new life into built-in self-test (BIST) solutions, which could also be used for manufacturing test. So could DFT as we know it be a thing of the past? Or will it continue to have a role to play? Te... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 24


Reducing MRAM chip area Researchers from Tohoku University developed a technology to stack magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ) directly on the via without causing deterioration to its electric/magnetic characteristics. The team focused on reducing the memory cell area of spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memory (STT-MRAM) in order to lower manufacturing costs, making them more compe... » read more

Improving Transistor Reliability


One of the more important challenges in reliability testing and simulation is the duty cycle dependence of degradation mechanisms such as negative bias temperature instability ([getkc id="278" kc_name="NBTI"]) and hot carrier injection (HCI). For example, as previously discussed, both the shift due to NBTI and the recovery of baseline behavior are very dependent on device workload. This is ... » read more

Insider’s Guide To Photomasks


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to talk about photomasks and lithography with Franklin Kalk, executive vice president of technology at Toppan Photomasks, a merchant photomask supplier. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What’s hot in mask technology these days? Kalk: It’s everything from the bleeding-edge like EUV to much more mature manufacturing. On the mature si... » read more

Manufacturing Of Next-Generation Channel Materials


One of the many challenges for the IC developers is to change the channel material to increase transistor mobility. But what about manufacturing? Can LED-style epitaxy be migrated to high-volume silicon manufacturing? “The use of Ge and InGaAs quantum wells is an extension of the current strained Si strategy," said Aaron Thean, vice president of process technologies and director of the log... » read more

The Most Expensive Defect


Defect inspection tools can be expensive. But regardless of the cost of the inspection tool needed to find a defect, the fab is almost always better off financially if it can find and fix that defect inline versus at the end of line (e.g., electrical test and failure analysis). Here, we are referring to the term defect in a general sense—the same concepts also apply to metrology measurement... » read more

Defects And Contamination Control


This week’s episode of the new Cosmos was particularly interesting because Neil Degrasse Tyson filled in a part of the recent history of semiconductors and made a great point about ethics in science. I had just moved to the United States when Carl Sagan’s Cosmos first aired, and at the time I thought he connected all sorts of interesting dots. The new edition is even better. In this ... » read more

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