Litho readiness for next-gen logic, flash, and DRAM

July 19, 2011 — Franklin Kalk, executive vice president of technology and CTO, Toppan Photomasks, covers the major lithography demands of distinct semiconductor device architectures: Logic, Flash, and DRAM. He also updates us on fabless/foundry relationships, and the supply chain in Japan in this video interview from SEMICON West 2011.

Kalk chats about his SEMICON West panel discussion about taking small fabless companies and ramping up to work with large foundries. A number of R&D foundries exist, and there are ways to minimize cost to bring projects before the large foundries.

Kalk also discusses logic, flash, and DRAM lithography. With logic, argon fluoride (ArF) and its many variants will be used through 14nm. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) layers will probably be used at 14nm. EUV may also be inserted at 20nm, if everything goes according to plan in EUV lithography readiness, Kalk forecasts.

Flash is "a different story," with a very tight pitch but simple geometries. Pitch relaxation can be used almost indefinitely. Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) has the greatest chance of adoption in Flash, Kalk asserts.

DRAM needs EUV now, says Kalk. DRAM makers are active in consortia and tool development on the EUV side. EUV light sources still need more work on reliability, and cost-effective power. The EUV mask readiness is encouraging, says Kalk, with tooling infrastructure progressing well. True manufacturing issues, such as how to ship a mask safely, are now under investigation.

Finally, Kalk brings up concerns for Japan, as it continues recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. While the "orange flag" has gone down on materials supply worries, equipment suppliers were more impacted.

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