San Jose (CA) – Researchers from AMD and IBM apparently have reached a milestone in advancing chip production technology, creating a path to semiconductors with structures of 16 nm and smaller.
According to the announcement, AMD and IBM have succeeded in producing a 45 nm chip using Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography across its entire 22 mm x 33 mm area. While the chip was created using 193 nm Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) technology in AMD’s Fab 36 in Dresden, Germany, a 13.5 nm ASML EUV lithography scanner installed in IBM’s Research Facility at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) in Albany, New York was used to pattern the first layer of metal interconnects between the transistors built in Germany. According to AMD, the transistors of the test chip showed “characteristics very consistent with those of test chips built using only 193 nm immersion lithography.”
EUV lithography has been discussed in the industry as a next-generation production technique for almost two decades. Back in 1997, Intel, Motorola and AMD created the EUV Limited Liability Corporation to develop an extreme ultraviolet process to replace DUV at the 100 nm production level. However, DUV saw remarkable a remarkable phase of innovation over the past decade: Today, we are at mass production of 45 nm (produced with 193 nm immersion lithography) and it is generally believed that DUV will take the industry down to at least 22 nm.
Sooner or later, DUV will run out of steam and the expensive transition to EUV may be necessary for 16 nm chip, which are expected to arrive in 2013.
AMD said that the next step in making EUV lithography a viable production technique will require the company to apply EUV not only to metal interconnects but to all critical layers to show an entire working microprocessor.