SAN FRANCISCO—Semiconductor equipment vendor KLA-Tencor Corp. Tuesday (June 21) joined chip-making vendor consortium Sematech's lithography defect reduction program at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany.
KLA-Tencor (Milpitas, Calif.) will collaborate with Sematech engineers at the defect reduction center for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) tool and materials technology, Sematech said. Specific areas for collaboration include defect source identification and elimination using leading-edge metrology, printability, and characterization methods to advance mask metrology infrastructure and metrology source development, as well as overall EUV manufacturability and extendibility, the organization said.
EUV lithography—the leading candidate to replace optical lithography in chip manufacturing at future process nodes—uses a source wavelength that is15 times shorter than current lithography systems, enabling semiconductor scaling to resolutions of 10 nanometers and smaller. Lowering the defect density of EUV lithography is considered critical for inserting it into high-volume manufacturing.
The introduction of EUV into high-volume manufacturing has been pushed back several times. Currently, according to Sematech, EUV lithography is projected to be introduced at the 22-nm half-pitch node in 2012 and 2013 at leading IC manufacturers.
"There are too many challenges in moving EUVL to cost-effective manufacturing to solve alone," said Dan Armbrust, Sematech's president and CEO, in a statement. "Increased collaboration with equipment suppliers in the early stages of technological innovation is increasingly required to obtain the breakthrough results that are needed."
Isn't it late for KLA to join in especially when the plans to introduce EUV is by 2012-2013? There would be significant metrology challenges and i am not sure whether the development of metrology for optical can be used for other litho tools.
CNSE is precisely available to try out the next generation lithography choices. It is a research environment might not be practical for years. But ti does two things: research to find alternatives to hurdles seen today, and teaching next-generation litho guys the ropes of the trade. Sometimes our patience fuse is too short as far as litho progress is concerned. KLA's a important metrology player in the next-gen equation: if you can't measure it, you can't build it.
I mean wrap as in close it, for the reasons you stated, given the timing inconsistency. Intel and Samsung were included in the Nikkei news, and they are the main drivers, but it's not consistent with their schedule.
A wrap as in going into production as is? My understanding is that there are still some significant issues with EUV, including the lack of an EUV pellicle as well as questions about the power sources and other issues.