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EUV late for 10nm party, says Intel

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EUV? immersion lithography? 10nm design?

EUV can still be inserted for the company's 10nm nodeif production-worthy tools are shipped by 2H 2012.

Chances are extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography would come in too late to take part in an important Intel event.

To date, Intel Corp. is working to extend currently used 193nm immersion lithography to the 14nm logic node, which is scheduled to be launched in 2H 2013. The chipmaker then plans to insert EUV for production at the 10nm logic node, which it hopes to start in 2H 2015.

Even though Intel's 10nm node is more than four years away, the company is currently hammering out the design rules for the processand EUV is late for the party. "EUV is late for (the) 10nm design rule definition" stage at Intel, said Sam Sivakumar, director of lithography at Intel, during a presentation at LithoVision on February 27. LithoVision was sponsored by Nikon Corp.

Still, Sivakumar said that EUV still stands a good chance of being inserted for the company's 10nm nodeif production-worthy tools are shipped by the second half of 2012. Even then, EUV will be at the "late end of the spectrum," he told EE Times.

Intel is looking at two vendors for EUV tools: ASML Holding NV and Nikon. ASML is reportedly about to ship a ''pre-production'' EUV lithography tool to Intel called the NXE:3100, which is using a light source from Cymer Inc.

For its part, Nikon has devised EUV alpha tools within its own headquarters in Japan and at Selete, an R&D organization. ASML and Nikon are reportedly supposed to ship full-blown production EUV tools this year or next.

Still, the clock is ticking for EUV. EUV is a next-generation lithography technology that was supposed to be inserted for production at the 65nm node. But the technology has been delayed, due to the lack of power sources, defect-free masks, resists and metrology infrastructure.

Still, leading-edge chipmakers are banking on EUV for production fabs, in an effort to avoid the dreaded and costly double-patterning era for optical lithography. But chipmakers have no choice but to go to double patterning. Experts believe that EUV is now targeted for production at the 16nm node or later.

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