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Extreme Ultraviolet Chip Manufacturing Process Technology Closer To Reality 49

Posted by Soulskill
from the finally-solved-the-sunburn-problem dept.
MojoKid writes "One of the greatest obstacles standing between chip manufacturers and the pursuit of smaller, faster, processors is the lack of a proper light source. Current chips are etched using a deep ultraviolet wavelength of 193nm, but at a 28nm semiconductor process geometry, we've reached the limits of what a 193nm wavelength is small enough to etch. Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) has been pegged as the most likely replacement for current 193nm technology, but repeated problems with ramping EUV have left it stalled on the runway. Now, for the first time, foundry technology developer ASML, which made headlines last year by partnering more closely with Intel and TSMC, believes it has cleared some of the hurdles between it and widespread EUV commercialization. The company predicts EUV technology could be ready for ramp by 2015. Two problems have stymied EUV deployment thus far. The first is the strength of the light source. Generating EUV at the intensities required for mass production can require as much as an order of magnitude more input power than conventional lithography. Second, there's the issue of exposure time. The two are linked — a higher-power system can etch wafers more quickly, but the power requirements could edge into the kilowatt range for each piece of equipment. The NXE:3300, which ASML is shipping this year, will be capable of hitting 125 wafers per hour, once the company boosts the light source up to 250W. That boost is still off in the future. Current NXE:3300 machines are targeting 80W by the end of the year."
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Extreme Ultraviolet Chip Manufacturing Process Technology Closer To Reality

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  • seriously?! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    someone explain to me how this is any different to the story posted not 48 hours ago http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/08/05/2336251/euv-chipmaking-inches-forward

    • by pyalot (1197273)
      It's different because it's posted 48 hours later.
    • by msobkow (48369)

      This time they didn't use the acronym in hopes of garnering more posts.

    • Re:seriously?! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Grey Geezer (2699315) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:41AM (#44495749)
      Well, as a Mechanical Engineer, who is not in the chip industry, I found the explanation of the process and challenges much more understandable in this article. Monday's post was a bit too much "surely everyone already understands the details" for me. My thanks to MojoKid for the clarification.
    • someone explain to me how this is any different to the story posted not 48 hours ago http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/08/05/2336251/euv-chipmaking-inches-forward [slashdot.org]

      You have to read it through a mirror whilst hanging upside down and whistling the theme tune to "I love Lucy"

    • The difference is night and day in the summaries at least. Reading the summary of the first story, one would conclude that progress is as much dependent on a group of companies funding ASML, that the cost is a major factor forcing companies to pool their efforts, and that as a result the number of major players at the leading edge is likely to stay small but stable. It is also highly unlikely one company alone can leapfrog the others for a major length of time, although say Intel can spend a lot of money
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is this really needed here again? Same source, different article.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dupe! [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    From the department of redundancy department.

  • The article makes no mention of the new wavelength, is it the same? It does mention a 10nm node, but that could be the targeted process geometry.

  • ...Slashdot dupe detection technology is still many years off. It will take major advancements in AI before we'll be able to detect duplicates like this [slashdot.org].

    • Actually that's an interesting point as it would be completely possible to make a quite good automated AI for that purpose.
  • EUV Chipmaking Inches Forward [ieee.org] (IEEE Spectrum)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm kind of surprised that photons of 193nm wavelength can be used to etch features smaller than one wavelength (28nm).

    How is that possible?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Magnets!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Several things are done. For example, by doing the exposures in water with a higher index of refraction than air or vacuum, the wavelength becomes closer to 134 nm. And although there is a limit roughly around the size of the wavelength, it is not an exact boundary and you can get down to 40-50% of the wavelength. Methods of using multiple exposures can push it further if the photoresist is sensitive in some nonlinear way, and additionally, use of multiple patterns and layers can make features on the edg
  • by Theovon (109752) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @07:55AM (#44495805)

    IIRC, there's been plenty of research into using 13nm UV to do lithography. Intensity was one issue. The issue not mentioned in the summary is that 13nm is ionizing. It actually damages the silicon (and probably also the masks). So using 193nm, we get high process variation in part due to lithographic aberations (another cause is the randomness of dopant insertion). At 13nm, we get high variation due to damaging the device.

  • The picture seems to show the EUV light bouncing off 9 or 10 mirrors. What's up with that? It seems like getting good alignment on all that would be nearly impossible. Or are those "active" mirrors used for progressively correcting the alignment? What's up with those things?

    Thanks for any insight.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The picture seems to show the EUV light bouncing off 9 or 10 mirrors. What's up with that? It seems like getting good alignment on all that would be nearly impossible. Or are those "active" mirrors used for progressively correcting the alignment? What's up with those things?

      Thanks for any insight.

      Can't use diffractive optics at those wavelengths -- have to use reflective optics to prep the beam. Also, the beam itself isn't used for alignment, but shines through a stencil-like 'mask' that causes the features to be patterned in the photoresist.

      One more thing -- photolithography itself isn't directly etching anything. It's used to generate patterns in a photoresist layer that is THEN used as a protective layer for etching etc. Subtle details...

    • 2 responses from annon and neither one explains why so many mirrors. Are masks in direct contact with the chip? If *not* then you could make fine adjustments with somewhat larger adjustments of these mirrors. But I speculate - hence the question. What's up with all those mirrors?
  • ...but the power requirements could edge into the kilowatt range for each piece of equipment.

    Maybe I'm not understanding something here, but a piece of machinery operating in a kilowatt range doesn't sound too bad. I got a dual 500watt shop light that operates in the kilowatt range. I'd be more than happy to chip in a quarter or two to pay for a few kilowatt-hours of power if I get one of the first processors. Hell, I'd even do a whole $20 and power the bad boy up for an entire week non-stop for the good

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Does your shop light produce kilowatts of near monochromatic light in the extreme ultraviolet range while being able to run for long times without damaging itself? EUV light sources are rather difficult to construct, especially with any reasonable tolerances in the output spectrum. You can't use simple near-neutral materials, but need a source with multiply ionized atoms to get high enough energy transitions, in a system where most of the output will not be the wavelength you want. Until free electron la
  • Stanley Cubrick did it in 1971, and it's been a classic since. Ah yes, the old ultra-violet. Nothing like milk plus to sharpen you up a bit.
  • 10 nm likely will be the end of CMOS silicon chips, gates can't be thinner than a single layer of atoms and quantum effects cause all manner of leaks, unpredictability and problems. So some new type of tech will be needed after circa 2015, whether carbon nanotech or perhaps quantum effects utilized

    • by Bengie (1121981)
      I hate it when electrons randomly tunnel out of a transistor, changing its value.
      • by iggymanz (596061)

        transistors have been made that depend on quantum tunneling, and that work in predictable and digital manner. in one design gate voltage controls whether tunneling from one side to another is permitted or completely forbidden. In another a series of conductive "dots" on an insulator can hold charge or allow it to tunnel in or out based on a control voltage. so I'm looking forward to seeing which way industry goes in say three years, the business model of their survival depends on them making a solution

  • 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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