The new Centura® Sculpta® patterning system offers a simpler, faster and more cost-effective alternative to dual EUV patterning
SANTA CLARA, California, February 29, 2023 /3BL Media/ – Applied Materials, Inc. today unveiled a breakthrough in patterning technology that will allow chipmakers to create high-performance transistors and interconnect wiring with fewer EUV lithography steps, reducing costs. complexity and environmental impact of advanced chip production.
Customers are increasingly using dual EUV patterns to print chip features smaller than EUV’s resolution limits, to optimize chip area and costs. Using dual EUV patterns, chipmakers split a high-density pattern in half and produce two masks that meet the resolution limits of EUV. Both halves of the pattern are combined on intermediate pattern films and then etched into the wafer. While double patterning is effective at increasing feature density, it adds design and patterning complexity, along with process steps that consume time, energy, materials and water – and increase the costs of wafer fabrication and wafer production.
Introduction of the Applied Materials Centura® Sculpta® Pattern system
To help chipmakers continue to shrink designs without the added cost, complexity, and energy and material consumption of dual EUV cartridges, Applied Materials has worked closely with leading customers to Centura Sculpta Cartridge System. Chipmakers can now print a single EUV pattern and then use the Sculpta system to extend the shapes in any direction to reduce the space between features and increase pattern density. Because the final pattern is created from a single mask, design costs and complexity are reduced and yield risk due to alignment errors with duplicate patterns is eliminated.
Dual EUV cartridges require a number of additional steps in the manufacturing process, typically including CVD pattern film deposition, CMP cleaning, photoresist deposition and removal, EUV lithography, eBeam metrology, pattern film etching, and wafer cleaning. For each dual EUV cartridge sequence it replaces, the Sculpta system can provide chipmakers with:
- Capital cost savings of approximately $250 million per 100K wafer start per month of production capacity
- A production cost savings of approximately $50 per wafer
- Energy savings of more than 15 kWh per wafer
- Direct reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of more than 0.35 kg CO2 equivalent per wafer
- Water savings of approximately 15 liters per wafer
“The new Sculpta system is a great example of how advances in materials engineering can complement EUV lithography to help chipmakers optimize chip area and costs while addressing the growing economic and environmental challenges of advanced chip manufacturing,” said Dr. Prabu Raja, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Semiconductor Products Group at Applied Materials. “The Sculpta System’s unique patterning technology combines Applied’s deep expertise in ribbon bundling and material removal technologies to create a breakthrough innovation for the pattern engineer’s toolbox.”
Customer and industry comments
“As Moore’s Law drives us toward greater computational performance and density, patterning is proving to be an important new technology that can help reduce manufacturing costs and process complexity, and save energy and resources,” said Ryan Russell, corporate vice president for logical technology development at Intel Corp. “After working closely with Applied Materials to optimize Sculpta around our process architecture, Intel will leverage patterning capabilities to help us achieve lower design and manufacturing costs, process cycle times and environmental impact.”
“Three critical issues must be considered when pushing the boundaries of patterning: point-to-point spacing, pattern bridge defects and line edge roughness,” said Jong-Chul Park, Master of Foundry Etch Technology Team at Samsung Electronics. “As an early development partner in the innovative patterning technology, I believe Applied’s Sculpta system is a compelling breakthrough that addresses these patterning challenges and lowers production costs for chipmakers worldwide.”
“Applied Materials’ new Sculpta system is a revolution in patterning that offers chipmakers entirely new capabilities,” said Dan Hutcheson, vice president of TechInsights. “As the industry continues to push the boundaries of chip scaling, we need breakthroughs like Applied’s patterning technology that can improve chip power, performance, area and cost while reducing design costs and energy and material consumption. Sculpta is the most innovative new process step in wafer manufacturing since the introduction of CMP.”
The Sculpta system is receiving significant interest from leading chipmakers and has been selected as a multi-step manufacturing tool for high-volume logic production.
Additional information about Applied’s Sculpta system will be discussed on the “New ways to shrink: launch of advanced pattern productsevent being held today.
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About applied materials
Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) is the leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world. Our expertise in modifying materials at the atomic level and on an industrial scale enables customers to turn possibilities into reality. At Applied Materials, our innovations make a better future possible. More information at www.appliedmaterials.com.
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