Mapper Lithography (Delft, the Netherlands) uses more than 10 thousand beamlets operating simultaneously as it aims for migration down to the 8-nanometer node.
The possible pathways down to the 8-nanometer semiconductor fabrication node were detailed last week at the ISPD (Napa, Calif.), albeit through a glass darkly. What's for sure is that the pathway is fraught with engineering peril as three competing technologies tool up for mass production capabilities. However, keynote speaker Burn Lin, a TSMC distinguished Fellow, claimed that one of three alternatives was sure to surmount the downward scaling hurdles to 8-nm design rules.
The three alternative pathways were 193-nanometer immersion lithography supplemented with multi-patterning, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and e-beam lithography. Immersion is closest to realization, according to Lin, but only if it can surmount spiraling cost barriers. EUV at the 13.5-nanometer wavelength has already been demonstrated capable of sub-20-nanometer design rules, but needs better focusing mechanisms and higher output light sources to overcome reflectivity of optics as low as 65 percent. E-beam is known to be able to achieve the 8-nanometer node today, but is a last-resort technology due to its slow speed and low throughput.