BY PETE SINGER, Editor-in-Chief
It would be difficult to overstate how critical the development of a workable, high volume manufacturing EUV lithography solution is to the semiconductor industry. It is no doubt why Intel, TSMC and Samsung invested billions in ASML in 2012, and why ASML acquired Cymer in 2013.
Progress has been slower than hoped, and many are questioning if it will be ready for the 10nm generation, which is slated to go into production in late 2015/early 2016. The cover story this month looks at alternatives, including mutli e-beam and directed self-assembly.
A push to 3D devices, such as the vertical NAND, make continued scaling possible while lessening the lithography (although new challenges are created for deposition and etch technologies). The good news is that it’s possible to get to 10nm and even 7nm without EUV using multi-patterning. The only question is if it will be cost effective to do so.
Earlier this year, at the SEMI Northeast Forum held in Billerica, MA, Patrick Martin, Senior Technology Director at Applied Materials described EUV as a “huge challenge” but then noted that “beautiful, brilliant people are working on this. He said “a thousand people at Cymer spend their life trying to make this work.”
“A thousand people at Cymer spend their life trying to make this work.”
I thought this was an interesting insight. It’s too easy to only look at the myriad of technology challenges that exist in something complex as EUV and think it’s not workable. But if we consider the human factor and that so many people are dedicating their lives to make it work (not to mention the billions of dollars at stake), it suddenly seems very achievable.
One EUV proponent is our blogger Vivek Bakshi, who runs regular workshops on EUV. In August, he reported on some recent good news announced by IBM showing good results using the ASML EUV tool at the Albany Nanotech center (summarized in this issue on pg. 13). What was a little sad was how many negative comments were made. I suppose with something as critically important as EUV, it’s to be expected that emotions will run high. But let’s not forget those beautiful, brilliant people that are spending their days trying to make it work.
This editorial originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Solid State Technology.