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
The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences