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What’s happening with 450mm: G450C update and status

August 16, 2013 Comments off

450mm fab.

450mm fab.

The Global 450mm Consortium (G450C) has been driving the effective industry 450mm development. It is co-ordinating test wafer capability supporting development and demonstrating unit process tool performance. The focus is now on improving tools with suppliers to be ready for customer operations.

Giving an update during the recently held Semicon West 2013 at San Francisco, USA, Paul Ferrer, GM, G450C, said that if one looks at the G450C lithography tool roadmap, by 1H-2014, the 300mm coupon, 450mm directed self-assembly and 450mm imprint will be completed. From 2H-2014 to 1H-2015, there will be 193i patterning service at Nikon’s site. Nikon 193i move-in will take place from 1H-2015 to 2H-2016.

Suppliers are developing the 450mm tool set with 10 tools per quarter being delivered to G450C, the global consortium for 450mm fabs. Significant progress has been made in wafer quality and wafer reclaim is almost ready. Automation and carriers are working, and suppliers are co-operating on the key initiatives. Global collaboration is said to be picking up steam.

In the NFX cleanroom, the 450mm OHT is ready for inter-fab transfer. There are nine tools in-fab — two metro, three process, and four stocker, respectively. There will be seven ODD 3Q2013, and 10 tools ODD 4Q2013, respectively.

As for 450mm notchless wafer activities, the key technical results include the backside fiducial marks that have achieved the desired accuracy (3σ = 0.5μm) using existing camera technology. There are design rules of fiducial marks, such as multiple locations (≤ 4) for robustness and speed, different patterns at multiple locations, and off crystal plane, fewer dots and shallower dots to minimize the Si crystal damage.

As for program highlights, there are collected designs from G450C member companies, tool suppliers, and optical detection suppliers. Also, there has been delivery of 300mm test wafers with fiducial marks. G450C has co-ordinated test wafer plans with suppliers. Further, for 450mm silicon wafer readiness, notchless wafers are technically achievable now.

The G450C members include CNSE/Research Foundation, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Intel, IBM, Samsung and TSMC.

300mm is the new 200mm!

August 14, 2013 Comments off

300mm fabs.

Buyers of 300mm fabs.

300mm is the new 200mm, said GlobalFoundries’ David Duke, during a presentation titled ‘Used Equipment Market’ at the recently held Semicon West 2013 in San Francisco, USA. Used semiconductor equipment sourcing and sales is a very interesting challenge.

Qimonda, Spansion, Powerchip and ProMOS had jumpstarted the market. Now, there is a broadening user base. There is an unexpected uptake by analog and power device producers to achieve economies of scale. There has been legacy logic scaling. Also, the 200mm fabs are being upgraded to 300mm with used equipment. Many 300mm tools can “bridge” to 200mm easily.

Parts tools are seeding the ecosystem. Third parties are also able to support refurb as well as tool moves. However, we need more! Software licensing is becoming a smaller hurdle. There has been no over-supply yet!

So, what are the ‘rough’ rules of thumb for 300mm? First, there are approximately 1,500 individual tools in the open market. Few sellers know the values as the market is still developing. Twenty percent of the transactions drive 80 percent of sales. Today, the number of 300mm buyers is around  1/10th the number of 200mm buyers!

Lithography has been the biggest difference. Leading edge DRAM is far more expensive in lithography. Lithography has seen the most dramatic financial effects with explosive pricing in technology (immersion) and the need for capacity (two-three critical passes vs. one with dual/triple gate patterning. As of now, financial shocks and bankruptcies are the main drivers for used 300mm.

Next, 200mm is now the new 150mm! The 200mm OEM support is starting to dry up. It is nearly impossible to compete in productivity vs. 300mm. Oversupply is causing values to stay suppressed. The only bright spot being: there is still strong demand for complete fabs. The 200mm market split is roughly by 40 percent Asia and 60 percent rest of the world.

So, what are the likely alternative markets for 200mm and 300mm fabs? These are said to be MEMs and TSV, LEDs and solar PV.

That brings me to India! What are they doing about fabs over here? This article has enough pointers as to what should be done. Otherwise, the world is already moving to 450mm fabs! Am I right?

Rolith’s rolling mask lithography cheaper, more scalable and flexible!

January 19, 2013 1 comment

Rolith Inc., Pleasanton, California, USA-based nanotech disrupter, is developing advanced nanostructured coatings and devices based on a proprietary technology for high throughput, large surface area nanolithography.

Found in nature (moth eye, lotus leaf and others) and successfully replicated in research labs, these nanostructures have the ability to revolutionize architecture, lighting, consumer electronics, energy, data storage, life science, solar, and other industries. Rolith’s disruptive nanostructuring technology allows cost-effective scaling of nanostructures fabrication in conveyor and roll-to-roll modes.

Rolith, along with Asahi Glass Co. have recently partnered for anti-reflective glass.

Dr. Boris Kobrin.

Dr. Boris Kobrin.

Speaking about Rolith’s rolling mask lithography, Dr. Boris Kobrin, president and CEO said that essentially, Rolith has come up with a new manufacturing method based on large area low cost optical lithography, usually used in semiconductor processing (processors, memory) in a silicon wafer form factor.

“Our process is much cheaper, more scalable and flexible, applicable for much larger substrates (architectural windows, solar panels, TV displays, etc.), but at the same time, reaching and even extending resolution (smallest feature sizes) of a traditional (and high cost) optical lithography.”

How will this be better than other available solutions, especially those used in museums, galleries, etc?

According to Dr. Kobrin, currently, the used anti-reflective coatings are based on vacuum process (sputtering or ‘physical vapor deposition’ of solid metal oxide layers), pretty expensive process. Such sputtered layers add color to glass plates, have limited efficiency for wide range of colors (wavelengths) and for different angle of view.

“Our sub-wavelength (nanostructured) anti-reflective glass won’t have additional materials (just glass), will have good efficiency for an entire visible spectrum and for angles of view up to 60 deg. Moreover, due to conveyor type of manufacturing process and scalable width of such conveyor, the process promises to be quite inexpensive (we have a goal eventually to get down to $2/m2).”

How is Rolith reducing or eliminating glare from passing through the lens? “We use the technique, which nature created for some insects (moth, for example), where nanostructured surfaces eliminate reflections and make objects invisible,” he concluded.

EDA Tech Forum 2010: Nanoscale regime and social product innovation!

August 18, 2010 Comments off

This a continuation of my coverage of the Mentor Graphics’ EDA Tech Forum 2010.

Here, I shall discuss the main points of the two keynotes by Dr. Kota Murali, lead scientist & program manager of nanotech, IBM India, and Manjunatha Hebbar, VP & Head – Strategic Services, HCL Technologies Ltd — my good friend and fellow board member at the Indian Microelectronics Academy (IMA).

Nanotech for a smarter planet

Dr. Kota Murali, lead scientist & program manager of nanotech, IBM India.

Dr. Kota Murali, lead scientist & program manager of nanotech, IBM India @ EDA Tech Forum 2010.

Dr. Kota Murali, lead scientist & program manager of nanotech, IBM India, presented on nanotech for a smarter planet. The motivation for nanotech at IBM has been — since IT has grown as devices have shrunk. Now, we have reached the nanoscale level. The challenge is: how do we take new technologies to markets?

He briefly touched upon IBM’s latest generation processor, the Power7, built on 45nm. The next generation Power8 processors are supposed to be built on 22nm/32nm.

He said that physical and chemical properties of materials depend on the size. Hence, it is important to use nano and quantum scale properties for next generation devices. There is this classical scaling reality — to maintain generational performance gains, supply voltage is not scaled ideally, leading to major power issues.

In the future, innovation, scaling and power will drive performance. Power will play a critical role in developing next-generation products.

On the novel high-K metal gate (HKMG) devices, these gates are already four monolayers thick. We need HKMG since it significantly reduces gate leakage and chips consume lesser power. Also, it allows equivalent oxide thickness. The shrinking of transistor dimensions can continue unhindered.

Dr. Murali highlighted chemical quantization — which allows changes in device parameters, as well as energy quantization — which leads to changes in the fundamental current-voltage characteristics of a transistor. A material’s resistance can also change in the nanoscale regime.

GIDL or gate-induced drain leakage is quite relevant to low power devices. GIDL leakage currents are becoming prohibitively high. While HKMG has solved the tunnelling problem, the GIDL issue still remains. Rotating the conventional wafer from <110> to <100> reduces the GIDL by an order of magnitude.

Next, what’s the alternative to CMOS devices? These could be 3D transistors with better gate control at 15nm and beyond as well as carbon nanotubes. I checked the Web: carbon nanotubes are molecular-scale tubes of graphitic carbon with outstanding properties. They are among the stiffest and strongest fibres known, and have remarkable electronic properties and many other unique characteristics. Excellent!

Finally, how do you pattern all of these devices? Computational lithography enables density scaling. Challenges include pattern optimization tool, code parallelization, HPC and optics.

Spin electronics could be the next evolution — leading to spintronics devices at nanoscale.  Here, IBM’s Giant Magnetoresistive Head, which has been a giant leap for IBM Research, comes into play.

Social product innovation

Manjunatha Hebbar, VP & Head - Strategic Services, HCL Technologies.

Manjunatha Hebbar, VP & Head - Strategic Services, HCL Technologies makes a point!

In his keynote, Manjunatha Hebbar of HCL Technologies stressed that innovation is required at every level across the entire value chain. A compelling alternative would be the social product innovation, or democratization of product innovation.

Benefits of social product innovation are manifold. The prime ones are —
* right product for the right market at the right time at the right price;
* lowest direct cost; sharing of risk and reward;
* real-time on demand access to resources; and
* organic transformation with the market.

He cited the example of Apple’s iPhone, which was launched during the peak of recession. The rest is history, as this smartphone went on to change the dymanics of the mobile phone market!

Hebbar highlighted that the society itself has core values of social product innovation. The core purpose — help everyone have their lives! The focus should be on process innovation and prodct innovation, leading to business innovation.

Today, everyone is on the cloud, mobile, connected and reading everyone. Creative commons is the most accepted license model today. Co-creation is always welcome.

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