At SEMATECH’s Litho Forum, May 10-12, semiconductor business leaders and technology experts gained valuable insight on the industry’s perceptions about and intentions for lithography development.
The Forum, a three-day gathering of global lithography experts, featured an impressive line-up of senior executives and technical experts in the semiconductor industry who shared perspectives on why collaboration is imperative for semiconductor innovation and what challenges the development of next-generation technologies must tackle to make lithography successful.
“The fundamental enabler of the industry is improving the cost per function,” said Dan Armbrust, president and CEO of SEMATECH. “For the industry to evolve, business models need to take into account collaborations to control costs and extend current technologies while building the infrastructure for future solutions.”
“Lithography is the backbone of the semiconductor industry, and it will be a driving force for future application opportunities and business growth,” said Bryan Rice, director of Lithography at SEMATECH. “The resulting information and guidance from this year’s Forum will be invaluable in helping SEMATECH members extend current technologies, build infrastructure for emerging ones, and overcome the technical and cost challenges of next-generation lithography.”
Key highlights of the Forum included the following:
- Keynote speaker Gary Patton of IBM focused on the need for industry collaboration and innovation to continue the roadmap forward and pointed to SEMATECH’s collaboration on EUV infrastructure as a good example of the type of collaborative innovation to make EUV happen.
- Presenters from IBM, TSMC, Tokyo Electron Limited, and GLOBALFOUNDRIES reviewed the current state of lithography and activities supporting lithography options, including EUV insertion, mask inspection challenges, double patterning process development, multiple e-beam decisions for 22 nm and sub-22 nm, and overall tool readiness.
- Equipment and material suppliers emphasized that the overall development costs and risk reduction must be secured by ensuring that development progresses at a pace compatible with the EUV mask and resist infrastructure.
Additionally, more than 130 attendees were surveyed on their plans and preferences on lithographic approaches for future manufacturing. Key survey results included the following:
- As identified at previous Forums, 193 nm immersion double patterning continues to be the suitable lithographic technology for volume manufacturing in 2012.
- While some manufacturers will use the technology sooner, EUV would be capable of being placed into manufacturing in 2014, with extendibility into manufacturing in 2016.
- For immersion double patterning, cost of ownership, overlay capability, and extendibility to the next-generation device are still the top challenges.
- For EUV technology, mask defects, source power, exposure tool throughput, and cost of ownership were rated the top challenges.
- 193 nm and EUV were chosen as the technologies that would be considered for manufacturing at the 32 nm node or beyond.
With an industry cycle of about two years per lithography node, SEMATECH’s biennial Litho Forum provides an opportunity for lithography users and suppliers to evaluate the progress of various technology options. The previous Forums helped coordinate industry consensus on the 32 nm half-pitch generation and beyond.