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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

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


The U.S. Senate approved the 2022 America COMPETES act, which has big ramifications for the chip industry. The bill now heads to the House for further reconciliation. If approved, it would provide more than $50 billion in U.S. subsidies for semiconductor chip manufacturing. The SIAC (Semiconductor In America Coalition) urged Congress to act promptly to achieve a bipartisan compromise soon and o... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Nov. 8


Plasma R&D with quantum computing Rigetti Computing, a developer of quantum computers, has been selected to lead a quantum simulation project for the development of fusion energy. The project was awarded by the Department of Energy (DoE). Under the plan, Rigetti will collaborate with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of Southern California on a three-year, $3.1 m... » read more

Finding Defects In EUV Masks


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is finally in production at advanced nodes, but there are still several challenges with the technology, such as EUV mask defects. Defects are unwanted deviations in chips, which can impact yield and performance. They can crop up during the chip manufacturing process, including the production of a mask or photomask, sometimes called a reticle. Fortunately... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers In its latest move to cut costs and focus on its core business, GlobalFoundries (GF) has announced plans to jettison its U.S. photomask operations in Burlington, Vt., but the foundry vendor will maintain a stake in its joint venture mask unit. Under the plan, Toppan Photomasks will acquire certain assets of GF’s Burlington photomask facility. “GF is transferring its mask tool... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


R&D Late last month, the U.S. Congress finalized the federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. This includes R&D spending as well. “There was grave concern over the future of federal spending with the release of the president’s FY 2018 budget, which would have cut the National Science Foundation (NSF) budget by 11% and National Institutes of Standards & Technology (NIST) spend... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The IC industry continues to consolidate. For example, Qualcomm has a proposed plan to buy NXP. And then, Broadcom wants to buy Qualcomm. Who is next? In a research note, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves said: “According to Bloomberg, Microsemi is exploring a sale and we think logical acquirers could include Skyworks. We continue to view Microsemi as a notable strategic as... » read more

More EUV Mask Gaps


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is at a critical juncture. After several delays and glitches, [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] is now targeted for 7nm and/or 5nm. But there are still a number of technologies that must come together before EUV is inserted into mass production. And if the pieces don’t fall into place, EUV could slip again. First, the EUV source must generate more ... » read more

5 Takeaways From BACUS


As usual, the recent SPIE Photomask Technology Conference, sometimes called BACUS, was a busy event. The event, which took place in San Jose, Calif., featured presentations on the usual subjects in the photomask sector. There were presentations on mask writers, inspection, metrology, repair and cleaning. And, of course, the papers included masks based on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography... » read more

Survey: Mask Complexity To Increase


The eBeam Initiative today released its annual members’ perceptions survey, a set of results that reveals some new and surprising data about EUV, multi-beam and photomask technology. As part of the results in the new survey, there is a growing level of optimism for the implementation of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography in high-volume manufacturing, as compared to last year’s results... » read more

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