Mask Maker Worries Grow

By Mark Lapedus

Photomasks are becoming more complex and expensive at each node, thereby creating a number of challenges on several fronts.

For one thing, the features on the photomask are becoming smaller and more complex at each node. Second, the number of masks per mask-set are increasing as a result of multiple patterning. Third, it costs more to build and equip a new mask fabrication facility. And finally, mask tool costs are soaring at each node.

To find out what’s required for future masks, Semiconductor Engineering recently conducted an informal poll among several photomask experts. The poll asked experts to come up with a “wish list” of technologies that are required for future mask making.

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