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Digging Deep Into High Aspect Ratio Process Control For Memory Technology


By Mark Shirey and Janay Camp Data is an integral part of our lives. Contrary to the past, where files had to be removed periodically to free up storage space, we now assume that our data will never be deleted. Why risk deleting the wrong file? Just keep them! This new approach consumes a lot of memory, and intensifies the demand for storage. Two of the main workhorses of the memory segment ... » read more

Wanted: Mask Equipment for Mature Nodes


Rising demand for chips at mature nodes is impacting the photomask supply chain, causing huge demand for trailing-edge masks and a shortfall of older mask equipment. The big issue is the equipment shortfall, which could impact customers on several fronts. Tool shortages could lead to longer mask turnaround times and delivery schedules for chips being developed at 90nm and above, which are bu... » read more

Defect Challenges Growing In Advanced Packaging


The current defect inspection systems for packaging are running out of steam for the latest advanced packages, prompting the need for new tools in the market. In response, several vendors are rolling out new defect inspection systems for use in various advanced packages, such as 2.5D/3D technologies and fan-out. The new defect inspection systems are more capable than the previous tools, but ... » read more

EUV Pellicle, Uptime And Resist Issues Continue


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is moving closer to realization, but several problems involving scanner uptime, photoresists and pellicles need to be resolved before this long-overdue technology is put into full production. Intel, Samsung and TSMC are hoping to insert EUV into production at 7nm and/or 5nm. While the remaining issues don’t necessarily pre-empt using EUV, they do affec... » read more

Advanced Defect Inspection Techniques For nFET And pFET Defectivity At 7nm Gate Poly Removal Process


By Ian Tolle, GlobalFoundries, and Michael Daino, KLA-Tencor During 7nm gate poly removal process, polysilicon is removed exposing both NFET and PFET fins in preparation for high-k gate oxide. If the polysilicon etch is too aggressive or the source and drain are not sufficiently protected, the etch can damage the active region and render the FET inoperative. Different materials are used in t... » read more

Variation’s Long, Twisty Tail Worsens At 7/5nm


Variation is becoming a bigger challenge at each new node, but not just for obvious reasons and not always from the usual sources. Nevertheless, dealing with these issues takes additional time and resources, and it can affect the performance and reliability of those chips throughout their lifetimes. At a high level, variation historically was viewed as a mismatch between what design teams in... » read more

SiC Chip Demand Surges


The silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor market is experiencing a sudden surge in demand amid growth for electric vehicles and other systems. But the demand also is causing a tight supply of SiC-based devices in the market, prompting some vendors to add fab capacity in the midst of a tricky wafer-size transition. Some SiC device makers are transitioning from 4- to 6-inch wafers in the f... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers GlobalFoundries said that it is putting its 7nm finFET program on hold indefinitely and has dropped plans to pursue technology nodes beyond 7nm. To be sure, it was a tough decision by GF to put 7nm on hold. But generally, analysts believe that GF made the right decision. “There’s only a handful of semiconductor companies that will require high-volume 7nm technology right when... » read more

Inspecting Unpatterned Wafers


Unpatterned wafer inspection, which has flown well under the radar for most of the semiconductor industry, is becoming more critical amid the need to find defects earlier in the manufacturing process flow. Finding those defects is getting harder as critical dimensions shrink. It's more difficult to actually detect smaller defects on bare wafers, there is more data to process, and there is mo... » read more

Spectral Tunability For Accuracy, Robustness And Resilience


In overlay (OVL) metrology the quality of measurements and the resulting reported values depend heavily on the measurement setup used. For example, in scatterometry OVL (SCOL) metrology a specific target may be measured with multiple illumination setups, including several apodization options, two possible laser polarizations, and multiple possible laser wavelengths. Not all possible setups a... » read more

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