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Foundry Wars Begin


Leading-edge foundry vendors are gearing up for a new, high-stakes spending and technology race, setting the stage for a possible shakeup across the semiconductor manufacturing landscape. In March, Intel re-entered the foundry business, positioning itself against Samsung and TSMC at the leading edge, and against a multitude of foundries working at older nodes. Intel announced plans to build ... » read more

Breaking The 2nm Barrier


Chipmakers continue to make advancements with transistor technologies at the latest process nodes, but the interconnects within these structures are struggling to keep pace. The chip industry is working on several technologies to solve the interconnect bottleneck, but many of those solutions are still in R&D and may not appear for some time — possibly not until 2nm, which is expected t... » read more

Finding Defects With E-Beam Inspection


Several companies are developing or shipping next-generation e-beam inspection systems in an effort to reduce defects in advanced logic and memory chips. Vendors are taking two approaches with these new e-beam inspection systems. One is a more traditional approach, which uses a single-beam e-beam system. Others, meanwhile, are developing newer multi-beam technology. Both approaches have thei... » 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

Metrology Challenges For Gate-All-Around


Metrology is proving to be a major challenge for those foundries working on processes for gate-all-around FETs at 3nm and beyond. Metrology is the art of measuring and characterizing structures in devices. Measuring and characterizing structures in devices has become more difficult and expensive at each new node, and the introduction of new types of transistors is making this even harder. Ev... » read more