MONTEREY, Calif. Only 5 percent of IC photomasks are below 100 nm, but that's a two-fold increase over last year, according to a "mask industry assessment" study presented at the BACUS Photomask Technology symposium here Tuesday (Oct. 4).
The study was presented by Gil Sheldon, principal at Sheldon Consulting. In its fourth year, the Sematech-sponsored study is intended to gather information about the state of the mask industry. Sheldon said that 8 manufacturers representing 85 percent of mask industry revenues participated in the survey, although notably absent was IBM.
According to the study results, just under 50 percent of masks use 350 nm or greater ground rules, 12 percent are below 130 nm, 5 percent are below 100 nm and just 0.8 percent are below 70 nm. The study looked at volumes, not revenues or IC transistor counts.
The study found that the average mask yield is 92.8 percent. Nearly half of yield losses are due to hard defects. Sheldon said binary yields are going up, and only about one-fourth of masks shipped are returned to the mask house.
The average data file shipped to mask houses is 3.2 Gbytes, the study found. The largest reported file was 283 Gbytes. Average mask preparation time is 8.2 hours; the longest reported time was 150 hours, which is somewhat better than last year's reported 10 days.
Sheldon said he was surprised to find that 77 percent of masks did not involve the use of optical proximity correction (OPC). However, he noted that "aggressive OPC" was up to 11 percent in this year's survey. In response to a question, Sheldon said the study did not ask about use of the new Oasis layout format.