Mask making is where a designer’s intent is translated into patterns needed to make a semiconductor. Every year, the e-beam initiative runs a survey of mask makers to assess the state of this small, but critical part of the chip making industry. This survey always gives important insights into industry insider perceptions of lithography technologies such as EUV readiness. Dan Hutcheson has a conversation about what they found this year with Aki Fujimura, who is CEO of D2S and the managing company sponsor of the eBeam Initiative. Here are some highlights from the 2017 eBeam Initiative Perceptions Survey that are discussed:
- Prediction that EUV will be used in High Volume Manufacturing – HVM - by the end of 2020.
- EUV Actinic mask inspection: Belief that the need for it grew significantly, with only 7 percent of respondents indicating it would never be used in HVM, compared to 22 percent of respondents in last year’s survey.
- Multi-beam mask writer technology: 74 percent of respondents predicted that multi-beam technology will be used by the end of 2019. However, the weighted average of the expected time for HVM implementation pushed out 10 months compared to what last year’s survey, though respondents expectation of multi-beam adoption increased over last year's survey.
- VSB mask writing systems: 61 percent believe that the throughput of current VSB mask writing systems is still adequate for the next few years.
- Inverse Lithography Technology (ILT): 70 percent of respondents believe that inverse lithography technology (ILT) is being used in at least a few critical layers of leading-edge-node production chips today (2017).
For more about the e-beam initiative, click here: http://www.ebeam.org/home