For advanced lithography used to shrink semiconductor device features according to Moore’s Law, resolution limits are an obvious consideration. It is often perceived that the resolution limit is simply derived from a well-defined equation, but nothing can be further from the truth.
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The vast majority of the attention given to the introduction of each new advanced process node focuses on lithographic updates. The common metrics quoted are the transistors per mm**2 or the (high-density) SRAM bit cell area. Alternatively, detailed decomposition analysis may be applied using transmission electron microscopy… Read More
Pretty much all the semiconductor nodes in the last two decades have had at least one layer where the minimum pitch pushes the limitation of the state-of-the-art lithography tool, with a k1 factor < 0.5, i.e., the half-pitch is less than 0.5*wavelength/numerical aperture. A number of published reports [1-4] have touched upon… Read More
On December 2, 2019, I posted a SemiWiki article entitled “ASML Will Take Semiconductor Equipment Lead from Applied Materials in 2019.”Since losing its dominance for the first time since 1990 in 2019, Applied Materials is poised to lose its retake the 2020 lead in the semiconductor equipment market. ASML led the… Read More
Ongoing investigations of EUV stochastics [1-3] have allowed us to map combinations of critical dimension (CD) and pitch which are expected to pose a severe risk of stochastic defects impacting the use of EUV lithography. Figure 1 shows a typical set of contours of fixed PNOK (i.e., the probability of a feature being Not OK due… Read More
In an earlier article , the resolution limit for the space between paired features was described by the Rayleigh criterion of ~0.6 wavelength/numerical aperture, where the numerical aperture (NA) represented the sine of the largest angle for a ray focused from the lens to a point. It is also given by the radius of the lens divided… Read More
Toshiba (now known as Kioxia) was the first company to propose a 3D stacked version of NAND Flash memory called BICS . BICS (BIt Cost Scalable) Flash used explicit process cost reduction based on depositing and etching multiple layers at once, avoiding multiple lithography steps. This strategy replaced the usual approach… Read More
This comparison of smartphone processors from different companies and fab processes was originally going to be a post, but with the growing information content, I had to put it into an article. Here, due to information availability, Apple, Huawei, and Samsung Exynos processors will get the most coverage, but a few Qualcomm Snapdragon
For the 10nm – 5nm nodes, the leading-edge foundries are designing cells which utilize 6 or 7 metal tracks, entailing a wide metal line for every 4 or 5 minimum width lines, respectively (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Left: a 7-track cell. Right: a 6-track cell.
This is a fundamental vulnerability for lithography, as defocus can change… Read More
At SEMICON West, Applied Materials announced a new selective gap fill tool to address the growing resistance issues in interconnect at small dimensions. I had the opportunity to discuss this new tool and the applications for it with Zhebo Chen global product manager in the Metal Deposition Products group at Applied Materials.… Read More