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Are Surfaces Of Silicon Hardmasks Adaptive?


Silicon hardmask (Si-HM) materials used in lithography processes play a critical role in transferring patterns to desired substrates. In addition, these materials allow for the tuning of optical properties such as reflectivity and optical distribution for better lithography. Si-HM materials also need to possess good compatibility with photoresists before and after optical exposure, during which... » read more

Marangoni Effect-Based Under-Layer For A Dual Damascene Via-First Approach


One of the main challenges of a Dual Damascene (DD) via-first process is the control of the Critical Dimensions (CDs) in the lithography of the trenches. The PhotoResist (PhR) thickness presents variations from the via arrays to the open areas, which cause the variation of CDs: the swing effect. The planarization of a DD via-first process is reported. A dual-layer solution is used to demonst... » read more

Underlayer Optimization Method For EUV Lithography


Photoresist and underlayer combine to serve a central role in EUVL for patterning. Layers will be very thin in future, because high numerical aperture (NA) and tight pitches will require very thin layers in the lithography stack. This thinness will make chemical interactions at the photoresist-underlayer interface more common. Adhesion between these layers will be critical to overcome pattern c... » read more

Robust Growth And Strong Outlook For Semiconductor Materials


2020 was a year that made a mark in the history of mankind as well as the semiconductor industry. It was a year of business and personal disruptions caused by COVID-19, supply chain interruptions, and exceptional agility of industries coping with the new normal imposed by the pandemic. Nevertheless, it was a year of extraordinary growth for the semiconductor industry, including semiconductor ma... » read more

Why New Photoresist Technology Is Critical


As chipmakers move to advanced technology nodes, they are challenged to resolve ever finer features. One of the major roadblocks involves the material used to transfer chip design to the wafer. That material is rapidly reaching its limit to accurately transfer designs. To keep next-generation device scaling on track, a breakthrough technology has been introduced: dry resist. To better understan... » read more

The Chemistry Of Semiconductors


At each new process node, the chemistry of chip manufacturing has become much more complex than at previous nodes. But at 5nm and below, it's going to get orders of magnitude more complex. For the first few decades, the chemistry of chips was largely shielded from view for most of the industry. Caustic gases were relatively well understood because they are a potential health hazard, but the ... » read more

Improving EUV Process Efficiency


The semiconductor industry is rethinking the manufacturing flow for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography in an effort to improve the overall process and reduce waste in the fab. Vendors currently are developing new and potentially breakthrough fab materials and equipment. Those technologies are still in R&D and have yet to be proven. But if they work as planned, they could boost the flo... » read more

Startup Funding: February 2020


AI drew the biggest investments last month, with two AI hardware companies and one autonomous driving software startup pulling in nine-figure sums. Investors also pumped money into semiconductor manufacturing and test equipment, notably around EUV lithography and advanced packaging. AI Hardware SambaNova Systems received $250M in Series C funding for its software-defined hardware for AI, le... » read more

EUV Arrives, But More Issues Ahead


EUV has arrived. After decades of development and billions of dollars of investment, EUV lithography is taking center stage at the world’s leading fabs. More than 20 years after ASML's extreme ultraviolet lithography research program began, and nearly a decade after its first pre-production exposure tools, the company expects to deliver 30 EUV exposure systems in 2019. That is nearly doubl... » read more

Photoresist Shape In 3D


Things were easy for integrators when the pattern they had on the mask ended up being the pattern they wanted on the chip. Multi-patterning schemes such as Self-Aligned Double Patterning (SADP) and Self-Aligned Quadruple Patterning (SAQP) have changed that dramatically. Now, what you have on the mask determines only a part of what you will get at the end. You will only obtain your final product... » read more

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