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Photomask Shortages Grow At Mature Nodes


A surge in demand for chips at mature nodes, coupled with aging photomask-making equipment at those geometries, are causing significant concern across the supply chain. These issues began to surface only recently, but they are particularly worrisome for photomasks, which are critical for chip production. Manufacturing capacity is especially tight for photomasks at 28nm and above, driving up ... » read more

Strategies For Faster Yield Ramps On 5nm Chips


Leading chipmakers TSMC and Samsung are producing 5nm devices in high volume production and TSMC is forging ahead with plans for first 3nm silicon by year end. But to meet such aggressive targets, engineers must identify defects and ramp yield faster than before. Getting a handle on EUV stochastic defects — non-repeating patterning defects such as microbridges, broken lines, or missing con... » read more

Highly Selective Etch Rolls Out For Next-Gen Chips


Several etch vendors are starting to ship next-generation selective etch tools, paving the way for new memory and logic devices. Applied Materials was the first vendor to ship a next-gen selective etch system, sometimes called highly-selective etch, in 2016. Now, Lam Research, TEL, and others are shipping tools with highly-selective etch capabilities, in preparation for futuristic devices su... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Packaging ASE, AMD, Arm, Google, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, and TSMC have announced the formation of a consortium that will establish a die-to-die interconnect standard and foster an open chiplet ecosystem. The founding companies also ratified the UCIe specification, an open industry standard developed to establish a standard interconnect at the package level. The UCIe 1.0 s... » read more

Gearing Up For High-NA EUV


The semiconductor industry is moving full speed ahead to develop high-NA EUV, but bringing up this next generation lithography system and the associated infrastructure remains a monumental and expensive task. ASML has been developing its high-numerical aperture (high-NA) EUV lithography line for some time. Basically, high-NA EUV scanners are the follow-on to today’s EUV lithography systems... » read more

The Quest For Curvilinear Photomasks


The semiconductor industry is making noticeable progress on the development of advanced curvilinear photomasks, a technology that has broad implications for chip designs at the most advanced nodes and the ability to manufacture those chips faster and cheaper. The question now is when will this technology move beyond its niche-oriented status and ramp up into high-volume manufacturing. For ye... » read more

EUV Pellicles Finally Ready


After a period of delays, EUV pellicles are emerging and becoming a requirement in high-volume production of critical chips. At the same time, the pellicle landscape for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is changing. ASML, the sole supplier of EUV pellicles, is transferring the assembly and distribution of these products to Mitsui. Others are also developing pellicles for EUV, a next-gen... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs Third Point, a hedge fund, released a letter, saying that Intel needs to explore its strategic alternatives. This includes the breakup of the chip giant. Obtained by Yahoo and others, the letter says Intel needs to decide “whether Intel should remain an integrated device manufacturer” and should divest certain failed acquisitions. Here’s another analysis of the sit... » read more

EUV Challenges And Unknowns At 3nm and Below


The chip industry is preparing for the next phase of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at 3nm and beyond, but the challenges and unknowns continue to pile up. In R&D, vendors are working on an assortment of new EUV technologies, such as scanners, resists, and masks. These will be necessary to reach future process nodes, but they are more complex and expensive than the current EUV pro... » read more

EUV’s Uncertain Future At 3nm And Below


Several foundries have moved extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography into production at both 7nm and 5nm, but now the industry is preparing for the next phase of the technology at 3nm and beyond. In R&D, the industry is developing new EUV scanners, masks and resists for the next nodes. 3nm is slated for 2022, followed by 2nm a year or two later. Nonetheless, it will require massive funding... » read more

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