Finding Defects Is Getting Harder


Chipmakers are plotting out a strategy to scale the transistor to 10nm and beyond. Migrating to these nodes presents a number of challenges, but one issue is starting to gain more attention in the market—killer defects. Defects have always been problematic in the yield ramp for chip designs, but the ability to find them is becoming more difficult and expensive at each node. And it will be... » read more

Fab Issues At 7nm And 5nm


The race toward the 7nm logic node officially kicked off in July, when IBM Research, GlobalFoundries and Samsung jointly rolled out what the companies claim are the industry’s first 7nm test chips with functional transistors. They're not alone, of course. Intel and TSMC also are racing separately to develop 7nm technology. And in the R&D labs, chipmakers also are working on technologies f... » read more

Speeding Up E-beam Inspection


Wafer inspection, the science of finding killer defects in chips, is reaching a critical juncture. Optical inspection, the workhorse technology in the fab, is being stretched to the limit at advanced nodes. And e-beam inspection can find tiny defects, but it remains slow in terms of throughput. So to fill the gap, the industry has been working on a new class of multiple beam e-beam inspectio... » read more

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