Many experts claim that the 28nm technology node will be the most cost effective technology node forever. This results from primarily from the cost of manufacturing due to the fact that 28nm is the last true Single Patterning (SP) node. It is also affected by the dramatic increase of design costs and the limited shrink factor of the next following nodes. Thus, it is assumed that this technology still will be alive still for many years. To be cost competitive, high yields are mandatory. Meanwhile, leading edge foundries have optimized the yield of the 28nm node to such a level that that it is nearly exclusively defined by random defectivity. However, it was a long way to go to come to that level. In my talk I will concentrate on the contribution of lithography to this yield learning curve. I will choose a critical metal patterning application. I will show what was needed to optimize the process window to a level beyond the usual OPC model work that was common on previous nodes. Reducing the process (in particular focus) variability is a complementary need. It will be shown which improvements were needed in tooling, process control and design-mask-wafer interaction to remove all systematic yield detractors. Over the last couple of years new scanner platforms were introduced that were targeted for both better productivity and better parametric performance. But this was not a clear run-path. It needed some extra affords of the tool suppliers together with the Fab to bring the tool variability down to the necessary level. Another important topic to reduce variability is the interaction of wafer none-planarity and lithography optimization. Having an accurate knowledge of within die topography is essential for optimum patterning. By completing both the variability reduction work and the process window enhancement work we were able to transfer the original marginal process budget to a robust positive budget and thus ensuring high yield and low costs.
Rolf Seltmann, Rolf Seltmann,
"28nm node process optimization: a lithography centric view", Proc. SPIE 9231, 30th European Mask and Lithography Conference, 923104 (17 October 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2068020; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2068020