By Dinesh Bettadapur
I was recently promoted to the Coventor executive management team as VP of Business Development assuming primary responsibility for driving business strategy and growth across the global semiconductor equipment market while also continuing to focus on driving market share growth across the Western US for the memory & logic IDMs as well as validation of the business potential for the fabless IC market.
Now let’s talk about the key technology trends that are impacting the capital equipment suppliers. As the industry continues to follow Moore’s law and transitions toward increasingly smaller process geometries (10nm, 7nm, 5nm), the complexity continues to grow exponentially. We have definitely reached the Age of the Atoms! This growth in complexity is manifested in multiple forms – complex devices (e.g. GAA, Nanowire), complex patterning schemes (e.g. Quad patterning), and complex structures (e.g. BEOL Passives). All these forms of complexity are primarily structural in nature (3D) which will require a new class of solutions to first and foremost accurately visualize highly complex 3D structures for better understanding and then to be able to determine the right set of process tradeoffs.
With this growth in complexity, come ever shrinking process margins and a tightening set of unit process requirements. Traditionally, equipment vendors have developed their process tools largely in a vacuum without needing to pay a lot of attention toward the upstream and downstream effects of each unit process. But this will simply not work moving forward! There is an increasing set of interdependencies between the various process steps (e.g. litho and etch, etch and deposition, litho-etch-deposition) that have to be considered in developing next generation process tools. This means that even unit processes have to be developed while keeping a much more integrated view in mind. In other words, the lines are getting increasingly blurred between unit process development and process integration. Therefore, there is a strong need for new and innovative solutions that can help bridge these two historically separate worlds. In addition, there is a need for solutions that can enable tighter technical collaboration between chip manufacturers and their equipment suppliers.
All of the above got strongly reinforced during my time at SEMICON West last week, both walking the floor as well as attending several meetings with Coventor’s broad set of customers and partners.
Coventor’s SEMulator3D is certainly one solution that was architected right from the outset with this vision in mind aimed at addressing these advanced process development and process integration challenges. This has resulted in strong market adoption among the world’s leading IDMs, foundries, and equipment suppliers. This is why I was highly motivated to take on this new career opportunity and look forward to making a significant contribution toward Coventor’s success moving forward.