TSMC

Inside Process Technology

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By Mark Lapedus

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the foundry business, memory, process technology, lithography and other topics with David Fried, chief technology officer at Coventor, a supplier of predictive modeling tools. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.

SE: Chipmakers are ramping up 16nm/14nm finFETs today, with 10nm and 7nm finFETs just around the corner. What do you see happening at these advanced nodes, particularly at 7nm?

Fried: Most people are predicting evolutionary scaling from 14nm to 10nm to 7nm. It’s doubtful that we will see anything really earth-shattering in these technologies. And so, a lot of the challenges come down to patterning. We are going to see multi-patterning schemes really take hold at more levels. For example, the fins are now based on self-aligned double patterning. People will move into self-aligned quad patterning. The gates are maybe self-aligned double. Now, they will move into self-aligned quad. So, that’s going to be a big expense, because each level is going to have multiple passes and multiple cuts.

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Multi-Beam Market Heats Up

se_logoBy Mark Lapedus

The multi-beam e-beam mask writer business is heating up, as Intel and NuFlare have separately entered the emerging market.

In one surprising move, Intel is in the process of acquiring IMS Nanofabrication, a multi-beam e-beam equipment vendor. And separately, e-beam giant NuFlare recently disclosed its new multi-beam mask writer technology.

As a result of the moves, the Intel/IMS duo and NuFlare will now race each other to bring multi-beam mask writers into the market. Still in the R&D stage, these newfangled tools promise to speed up the write times for next-generation photomasks, although there are still challenges to bring this technology into production.

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7nm Lithography Choices

se_logoBy Mark Lapedus

Chipmakers are ramping up their 16nm/14nm logic processes, with 10nm expected to move into early production later this year. Barring a major breakthrough in lithography, chipmakers are using today’s 193nm immersion and multiple patterning for both 16/14nm and 10nm.

Now, chipmakers are focusing on the lithography options for 7nm. For this, they hope to use a combination of two technologies at 7nm—extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, and 193nm immersion with multi-patterning.

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What’s the Next-Gen Litho Tech? Maybe All of Them

semimd_logoBy Jeff Dorsch

The annual SPIE Advanced Lithography symposium in San Jose, Calif., hasn’t offered a clear winner in the next-generation lithography race. It’s becoming clearer, however, that 193i immersion and extreme-ultraviolet lithography will co-exist in the future, while directed self-assembly, nanoimprint lithography, and maybe even electron-beam direct-write technology will fit into the picture, too.

At the same time, plasma deposition and etching processes are assuming a greater interdependence with 193i, especially when it comes to multiple patterning, such as self-aligned double patterning, self-aligned quadruple patterning, and self-aligned octuple patterning (yes, there is such a thing!).

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