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EUV Chipmaking Inches Forward 32

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the extreme-lithography dept.
szotz writes "You've got falling droplets of molten tin, bright lasers, and fancy evacuated optics. What's not to love about EUV light sources? The fact that we still don't have them in production lines producing chips. Light source maker ASML says it's 'more confident' that the technology's on track now, and that the machines should meet their target brightness by 2015, in time to help pattern the 10nm generation of chips — the next next generation. We'll see. Or then again maybe we won't. The light's outside the visible range."
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EUV Chipmaking Inches Forward

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  • Given than EUV is absorbed by pretty much all normal matter, why would it have trouble lighting up our light sensing cells, while at the same time microwaving our brains into mush? I'm pretty sure I could sense that.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday August 05, 2013 @10:43PM (#44482957) Journal

      Given than EUV is absorbed by pretty much all normal matter, why would it have trouble lighting up our light sensing cells, while at the same time microwaving our brains into mush? I'm pretty sure I could sense that.

      Unless re-emitted as visible light, something that high in the UV range would just be absorbed by the cornea, lens, or aqueous or vitreous humors before having a chance to hit the retina.

      The potentially-permanent damage would be noticeable; but probably not immediately(allegedly, the sensation is similar to having your eyes full of sand, without any sand you can remove, sometimes followed by cateracts. Zesty!)

      If the UV is high energy enough, and there is something even slightly fluorescent in the eye, you might be able to see the visible light produced when the fluorescent material is energized by the UV. That would be a Bad Sign; but at least an immediate one (possibly not as bad as seeing Cherenkov radiation in your eye; but still bad).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by viperidaenz (2515578)

      You'll be find as long as you stay out of the machines in a chip fab.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      EUV light at 13.5 nm is in what is also called the 'vacuum ultraviolet' range of the spectrum. It only propagates a small fraction of a mm through air before it is attenuated down to nearly nothing. Most materials need only a few hundred nanometers to fully absorb it. There's essentially no chance it would ever reach your eye, unless you were doing something really wrong.
    • First of all, your brain doesn't have pain receptors, so that part you won't feel. Your retina, the part of the eye that is (visible) light sensitive, does have pain sensors. It takes until cells are damaged for them to start triggering and you won't "see" anything happening. It will just feel like your eye balls hurt like hell and your vision will be gone. Since the intro mentioned "see", the answer will be no. You won't see it happening and if it does, you probably will see even less other things than bef
  • EUV source (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05, 2013 @11:21PM (#44483115)

    I was at SPIE in San Jose in 2011 and they had a few of the demo EUV light sources on the convention floor. It looked like it was out of the Hellraiser films. I can only imagine how large (and evil looking) something capable of doing 125 300mm wafers per hour will be.

    All joking aside, there are still huge obstacles to overcome for EUV. The line edge roughness issue may be a show stopper for nodes beyond 10nm as the chemistry of the diffusion lengths of the photo-activated compounds of the resist is close to this feature size and can add a significant variance to the CD of the lines. Also cost is going to be a major question, last I heard the "pre-production" tools are going for 130 million a piece and the reticle sets are going to be getting into millions of dollars (if not 10 Million). So if its cheaper to buy a bunch of E-beam tools and/or a bunch of 193nm immersion tools (for triple patterning) the EUV may never make economic sense for fabs.

    • Re:EUV source (Score:5, Informative)

      by hankwang (413283) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @01:56AM (#44483659) Homepage

      "a bunch of 193nm immersion tools (for triple patterning) the EUV may never make economic sense for fabs."

      A problem with dual/triple patterning is that it is mostly suitable for making parallel lines, not complex patterns. It happens that this works very well for NAND memory, but for CPUs, not so much.

      Another problem is that you need 2x or 3x the number of process steps, which puts the higher price for EUV machines into perspective.

      I expect that the primary target at the moment is to develop the technology. Once we're there, more attention can go to reducing costs.

      Disclosure: I work at ASML on the EUV source. But this are my own views; I don't officially represent the company.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, you can build CPUs with triple patterning based on the aforementioned parallel lines, but probably not ideal ones.

        The trick is to use triple patterning to fabricate the gate substrates and contact wires, and use e-beam direct-writing to remove the connections you don't want. It's not an ideal process, as each cell has to be individually ablated, and you only get one parameter for each gate (gate-length), so things like tri-gate and FINFET are not going to be easily fabable.

        One possible advantage is fo

        • by Oo.et.oO (6530)

          you guys are cute. several fab companies are already well into their evaluation processes to produce fully patterned 10nm wafers with evaluation CPUs and mixed signal ckts. and all without EUV (*gasp*).

          in triple patterning, the third color is typically to produce the notches and orthogonal lines.
          it's the double patterning that is mostly for parallel lines.

    • Re:EUV source (Score:4, Interesting)

      by joe_frisch (1366229) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @11:42AM (#44486901)

      One could imagine FEL based sources for EUV. At SLAC / LCLS we run reliably at even shorter wavelengths, 4nm is our long wavelength limit, 0.12 at the short end. Average power is low now, but there is a clear path to at least kilowatt average powers (see the LBNL NGLS) and 10s of KW are pretty straightforward.

      The sources are very expensive - $100M-$1B, so they might be out of reach for even a large fab.

      There has been quite a bit of work on EUV / Xray optics, but again the parts are really expensive (an X-ray mirror runs $1M. )

      It probably ends up as an economic issue (not surprising), it it worth building sources like this.

      • Average power is low now, but there is a clear path to at least kilowatt average powers (see the LBNL NGLS) and 10s of KW are pretty straightforward.

        A clear path to kilowatt powers, that's sounds a bit like the stories about the EUV sources years ago. Reality turned out to be quite a bit harder...

        There has been quite a bit of work on EUV / Xray optics, but again the parts are really expensive (an X-ray mirror runs $1M. )

        Are those normal incidence or grazing incidence mirrors? For proper imaging, you need to

        • I can't comment on other sources. FELs based on superconducting accelerators do scale well to fairly high average powers - though at a very high cost. Our machine runs at a few mJ/pulse but is limited to the 120Hz rate of the room temperature accelerator. Superconducting machines run well at MHz rates (some like CEBAF have been doing this for years). There are some longer wavelength FELs (IR and near UV) with high average powers, its just more money to push them to the EUV. (maybe too much money).

          Most o

  • Progress (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mandrel (765308) on Monday August 05, 2013 @11:39PM (#44483183)
    A 10nm feature size is 1000 times smaller [wikipedia.org] than the first 10um processes of the early 1970s. That is, one million transistors will soon fit into the space that one used to.
  • by lasuprint (3009431)
    thx for u
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Monday August 05, 2013 @11:50PM (#44483221)

    Actually explains the process in detail:

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/design/plans-for-nextgen-chips-imperiled [ieee.org]

    BTW, it's considered good practice in anything related to scientific research to define acronyms the first time they are used. In this case, EUV == extreme ultraviolet

  • by MancunianMaskMan (701642) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @03:53AM (#44484027)
    ASML aren't a "light source maker", they don't "make" anything actually. They research and develop technologies, integrate stuff from different suppliers, and have contractors bolt it together. And then they sell it and train people to use it.

    And they're good at it so pretty much every chip maker buys their kit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh come on, that's a bit of an understatement. Most of the stuff they get "from different suppliers" has been designed by them and is manufactured according to strict prescriptions. It's not like they simply fill in some forms on web shops at "highspeedsiliconwaferstages.com", "uvlightsources-shop.com", and "allyourlenses.co.cn" and have some guy in a garage throw the stuff together in a box.

    • Re:ASML (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hankwang (413283) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @05:48AM (#44484433) Homepage

      ASML aren't a "light source maker", they don't "make" anything actually.

      With the acquisition of Cymer, ASML is actually a light source maker.

      integrate stuff from different suppliers, and have contractors bolt it together.

      It is true that ASML outsources the manufacturing of most components as far as it involves materials processing (machining, coating, soldering) and off-the-shelf components (pumps, filters, sensors, computers, bolts, cables, etc.). But the actual assembly and tuning of these thousands of components is done by ASML's own employees in ASML's own cleanrooms. As I am typing this, this is happening about 15 meters below my office.

      Given the wide variety in technologies used in these scanners, and given how fast the technology changes, it wouldn't make much sense to do all the materials processing in-house. For me as a design engineer it is quite cool that I generally only need to worry whether the design of a component is manufacturable by some supplier in the world, rather than that I have to keep in mind what our own tools, which have to be used because they are not yet written off. That would slow down development tremendously -- it is already hard enough to keep up with Moore's law without such a restriction.

      (The above are my own views/opinions yadda yadda)

  • There is an alternative technology for the production of EUV light at lithography power levels. Zplasma Stable DPP uses Sheared Flow Stabilization to stabilize the EUV-emitting plasma. Stable plasma results in light pulses that are 10-100 times longer than than those produced by the unstable plasmas of other sources. The source uses no tin and has a controlled end to each pulse that does not produce the high-energy debris and molten tin sputtering that have been obstacles for other light sources. We have pr

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