DSA Re-Enters Litho Picture

By Mark LaPedus and Ed Sperling Directed self-assembly (DSA) is moving back onto the patterning radar screen amid ongoing challenges in lithography. Intel continues to have a keen interest in [gettech id="31046" t_name="DSA"], while other chipmakers are taking another hard look at the technology, according to multiple industry sources. DSA isn't like a traditional [getkc id="80" kc_name="... » read more

E-beam Inspection Makes Inroads

E-beam inspection is gaining traction in critical areas in fab production as it is becoming more difficult to find tiny defects with traditional methods at advanced nodes. Applied Materials, ASML/HMI and others are developing new e-beam inspection tools and/or techniques to solve some of the more difficult defect issues in the fab. [gettech id="31057" t_name="E-beam"] inspection is one of tw... » read more

New BEOL/MOL Breakthroughs?

Chipmakers are moving ahead with transistor scaling at advanced nodes, but it's becoming more difficult. The industry is struggling to maintain the same timeline for contacts and interconnects, which represent a larger portion of the cost and unwanted resistance in chips at the most advanced nodes. A leading-edge chip consists of three parts—the transistor, contacts and interconnects. The ... » read more

The Race To 10/7nm

Amid the ongoing ramp of 16/14nm processes in the market, the industry is now gearing up for the next nodes. In fact, GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are racing each other to ship 10nm and/or 7nm technologies. The current iterations of 10nm and 7nm technologies are scaled versions of today’s 16nm/14nm finFETs with traditional copper interconnects, high-k/metal-gate and low-k diele... » read more

Inside Next-Gen Transistors

David Fried, chief technology officer at [getentity id="22210" e_name="Coventor"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the IC industry, China, scaling, transistors and process technology. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: In a recent roundtable discussion you talked about some of the big challenges facing the IC industry. One of your big concerns involves th... » read more

How Many Nanometers?

What’s the difference between a 10nm and a 7nm chip? That should be a straightforward question. Math, after all, is the only pure science. But as it turns out, the answer is hardly science—even if it is all about numbers. Put in perspective, at 65nm, companies defined the process node by the half pitch of the first metal layer. At 40/45nm, with the cost and difficulty of developing n... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Grow

It’s becoming apparent that traditional chip scaling is slowing down. The 16nm/14nm logic node took longer than expected to unfold. And the 10nm node and beyond could suffer the same fate. So what’s the main cause? It’s hard to pinpoint the problem, although many blame the issues on lithography. But what could eventually hold up the scaling train, and undo Moore’s Law, is arguably t... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Grow

Qualcomm outlined the technology challenges facing mobile chip suppliers at a recent event. In no particular order, the challenges include the usual suspects—area scaling, power reduction, performance and cost. Another concern for Qualcomm is an often-overlooked part of the equation—the backend-of-the-line (BEOL). In chip production, the BEOL is where the interconnects are formed within ... » read more