Imec unsure whether 7nm-chip production will run entirely through EUV




Researchers technology institute Imec still see significant obstacles to the use of EUV technology. Not be overcome this, the 7nm production will be a so-called half-node which the chips that process are considerably more expensive to make.

The researchers got the IMEC Technology Forum know to be optimistic about the use of EUV for 7nm production, but the extent to which there is still doubt, writes EE Times. For the current-nanometer manufacturing process is used immersion lithography, but chips shall be lit by the machines in incremental steps to get smaller lines on wafers. This has reduced the time and costs. Machines must use of the EUV light having a wavelength of 13,5nm, which can be applied in a single step, the small structures on wafers, where the current immersion machines need for multiple steps. According to IMEC, 34 lithography steps needed to 7nm through immersion and EUV through 9.

However, the EUV ASML machines are not yet ready for mass production. To use them effectively are some improvements needed, said IMEC researchers. The light source must be upgraded to 180W, where ASML is now up to 110W. Further, the systems need to 80 percent of the time function; now is that an average of 50 to 60 percent. ASML reported, however, that a customer with his NXE 3300B machine uptime of 82 percent was achieved over a week and the end of this year should be 86 percent within reach.

Further, the production must also up of 70 to 80 wafers per hour now, to 200 wafers per hour. The latter is the rate at which the current immersion lithography machines can shine upon the wafers. For a long time, ASML and its customers no longer to get ready the machines. Over 18 months, they should be ready for production, otherwise the manufacturers to begin production without 7nm EUV says An Oversteegen Imec research branch for process technology: “In that case 7nm probably a half node, not completely shrink.” The EUV-machines would then be partially deployed in front of the node. Certain critical layers are then produced by EUV. For the process after 7nm’s likely other techniques must be enabled, so EUV possible only a single node life. Incidentally working Imec all other techniques for transistors that must follow the existing FinFET technology.

According Steegen is also the question whether the cost per transistor to fall at the 10nm production for all fabs. Many manufacturers already indicated that the cost per transistor for 20nm- and 14nm / 16nm production had increased, just for Intel, this was not the case. ASML was however announced later this year to provide a machine for immersion lithography which can handle 275 wafers per hour, the cost should


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