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Computational Lithography

Posted on: 26-Jun-2007

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Intel Breaks the Rules Again
Intel had it’s research day for analysts and the media and I was lucky enough to get a CD of Yan Borodovsky’s paper on lithography advances. I posted the paper separately in the semiconductor section of so you can review it. The first part of it is mostly a tutorial for the litho-challenged. It’s actually pretty good. If you’re in the industry, I’d suggest you pay close attention to the second piece, as they have made a revolutionary breakthrough in manufacturing that is arguably as important as the invention of the reticle. It’s like going from prop to jet engines.
Essentially what they’ve done is take OPC down to deal with diffraction effects on a pixel-by-pixel basis. It results in a phase shift to the image plane without a phase shift reticle. Cost-wise, it’s like OPC. Technology-wise it’s like a phase shift reticle.
If you look at the reticle, gone are the familiar dog bones of OPC. It doesn’t look like any reticle you have ever seen. It looks more like one of those noisy pixilated images, which if you look at long enough, an image will emerge. The AFM looks like an areal image from Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
What’s most interesting is that Intel has levered their breadth of technology in software to create a computational engine that takes the ideal image and creates the drivers to create the reticle needed to make that image. That is why they call it Computational Lithography.
It’s something you can’t buy. You must develop it on your own. That gives Intel a huge competitive advantage.

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About weQuest:
weQuest's are written by G Dan Hutcheson, his career spans more than thirty years, in which he became a well-known as a visionary for helping companies make businesses out of technology. This includes hundreds of successful programs involving product development, positioning, and launch in Semiconductor, Technology, Medicine, Energy, Business, High Tech, Enviorntment, Electronics, healthcare and Business devisions.

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