Smaller, even smaller, tiny. Miniaturization in chip manufacture is progressing at an impressive pace. Researchers continue to push the physical limits of semiconductor technology and are developing methods of making circuit elements even smaller and faster. At the same time, the associated processes are having to meet increasingly high requirements.
The experts predict a promising future for EUV lithography – lithography with extremely shortwave ultraviolet light. This works as follows: Light with a wavelength of 13 nanometers is guided through a reflection mask onto the silicon wafers, where it generates nanometer structures.
As the exposure processes take place in a vacuum, special fixtures are necessary to accommodate the silicon wafers and the exposure mask, and to hold them firmly in place. The technical term for these is chucks. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF have developed exceptionally precise electrostatic chucks for EUV lithography.
“The chucks need to be extremely smooth and even,” says Fraunhofer IOF scientist Dr. Gerhard Kalkowski. “If they are not super-flat, the result is height deviations in the mask, which lead to structural distortions on the silicon chips.” The IOF researchers are using special glass materials and have developed new technologies to increase the levelness of the chucks, with excellent results: While height deviations of over 100 nanometers had been measured previously, the new material reduced them to 74 nanometers, setting a new record. The chuck and the mask virtually merge into a single plane.
The IOF chucks also have other advantages: “The material guarantees high holding strengths, distributed across the entire surface, and reduces abrasion,” says Kalkowski. Two properties of great importance to the EUV exposure process.
The researchers’ findings will greatly benefit the chip industry, as chip manufacturers rely particularly on the stability and precision of the chucks in order to be able to use EUV lithography in mass production. Meanwhile, the IOF researchers are working towards their next goal: flatter than 50 nanometers.
Dr. Gerhard Kalkowski | alfa
Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University
New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality
19.10.2016 | University of Waterloo
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences