Coventor recently sponsored an expert panel discussion at IEDM 2017 to discuss how we might advance the semiconductor industry into the next generation of technology. The panel discussed alternative methods to solve fundamental problems of technology scaling, using advances in semiconductor architectures, patterning, metrology, advanced process control, variation reduction, co-optimization and new integration schemes. Our panel included Rick Gottscho, CTO of Lam Research; Mark Dougherty, vice president of advanced module engineering at GlobalFoundries; David Shortt, technical fellow at KLA-Tencor; Gary Zhang, vice president of computational lithography products at ASML; and Shay Wolfling, CTO of Nova Measuring Instruments.
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.
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!).