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Thread: Intel's 10nm metal patterning contradiction - differences of hyper-NA tools?

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    Intel's 10nm metal patterning contradiction - differences of hyper-NA tools?

    In this 22 nm presentation (p. 37), Intel reported 80 nm metal pitch with single patterning: https://www.intel.com/content/dam/ww...esentation.pdf

    However, in the 10nm IEDM 2017 paper, 40 nm metal pitch (20 nm half-pitch) was done by self-aligned quadruple patterning, not the expected pitch-halving double patterning.

    This is a rather unexpected, even apparently self-contradictory, choice. But the expectation is set by the assumptions.

    It might be related to the difference of available immersion tools. Some immersion tools have the maximum numerical aperture (NA) of 1.35, while others have a lower NA of 1.2. The 40 nm resolution is achievable with the 1.35 NA, achieving a k1 of (40)*(1.35)/193 = 0.28, which is just above the fundamental limit of k1=0.25. This is what was used for Intel's 22nm. On the other hand, the same 40 nm is not achievable with 1.2 NA, since k1 = (40)*(1.2)/193 < 0.25. If there are not enough 1.35 NA tools to use for Intel's 10nm, they have to reuse the 1.2 NA tools with quadruple patterning (starting from 80 nm half-pitch) instead of double patterning (starting from 40 nm half-pitch).

    Restricting to 1.2 NA tools would also increase the number of via or cut or block masks compared to 1.35 NA. Two vias or cuts 80 nm apart must use different masks on 1.2 NA but can be squeezed onto one mask with care on 1.35 NA.

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    Why on earth could they not get a 1.35NA tool; bad planning?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Chen View Post
    In this 22 nm presentation (p. 37), Intel reported 80 nm metal pitch with single patterning: https://www.intel.com/content/dam/ww...esentation.pdf

    However, in the 10nm IEDM 2017 paper, 40 nm metal pitch (20 nm half-pitch) was done by self-aligned quadruple patterning, not the expected pitch-halving double patterning.

    This is a rather unexpected, even apparently self-contradictory, choice. But the expectation is set by the assumptions.

    It might be related to the difference of available immersion tools. Some immersion tools have the maximum numerical aperture (NA) of 1.35, while others have a lower NA of 1.2. The 40 nm resolution is achievable with the 1.35 NA, achieving a k1 of (40)*(1.35)/193 = 0.28, which is just above the fundamental limit of k1=0.25. This is what was used for Intel's 22nm. On the other hand, the same 40 nm is not achievable with 1.2 NA, since k1 = (40)*(1.2)/193 < 0.25. If there are not enough 1.35 NA tools to use for Intel's 10nm, they have to reuse the 1.2 NA tools with quadruple patterning (starting from 80 nm half-pitch) instead of double patterning (starting from 40 nm half-pitch).

    Restricting to 1.2 NA tools would also increase the number of via or cut or block masks compared to 1.35 NA. Two vias or cuts 80 nm apart must use different masks on 1.2 NA but can be squeezed onto one mask with care on 1.35 NA.
    Do you have a paper on Intel 14nm for comparison? It would be interesting to see how Intel stepped from 22nm to 14nm to 10nm?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Nenni View Post
    Do you have a paper on Intel 14nm for comparison? It would be interesting to see how Intel stepped from 22nm to 14nm to 10nm?
    IEDM 2014: https://www.intel.com/content/dam/ww...esentation.pdf

    22nm: MMP=80 nm
    14nm: MMP=52 nm
    10nm: MMP=36 nm

    Note that 44 nm pitch could be ok for SADP on 1.2 NA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chipper View Post
    Why on earth could they not get a 1.35NA tool; bad planning?
    Historically, the 1.2NA tool was targeted for 45 nm node. I suppose at the time Intel was more aggressive in purchasing those tools to stay ahead at 45 nm, even though in the end not using them for 45 nm. So they may have a larger share of those tools. Still, they also purchased many 1.35NA tools as well. It's a little hard to believe the 1.35NA capacity ran out. But possibly the other players like TSMC or Samsung could have the advantage to buy relatively more 1.35NA tools, which were available shortly after 45 nm.

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