Motorola hits 0.1 ?m

Motorola hits 0.1 ?m
Summer launch planned for 0.1?m chip making process; product to be a processor. Steve Bush Motorola has an 0.1?m chip-making process which will be ready for production this year, claims the company. “It will be used this summer,” confirmed Fabio Pintchovski, director of Motorola’s advanced product research and development labs, and the product is “most likely to be a processor”. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association’s (SIA) roadmap (see Electronics Weekly, February 3, page 5), a 0.10?m feature size manufacturing process is only expected in 2006, so has Motorola wrought a miracle? Not exactly. Motorola has said that the technology, based on phase-shift masks, will be used in production this summer. It has not explicitly stated that the products will have 0.10?m features. The company has only said that a microprocessor, almost certainly a PowerPC, with 0.1?m features has been successfully made on a production process. Applying the known phase-shift mask makes Motorola the first to embrace the technology, however. “Phase-shift masks turn a 248nm stepper [used to produce 0.25?m feature sizes] into a virtual 90nm stepper,” said Atul Sharan, spokesman for Motorola’s development partner Numerical Technologies. Conventional masks are diffraction-limited as feature sizes approach the wavelength of light used in the stepper. Phase-shift masks actively use diffraction to produce crisp sub-wavelength features. According to Sharan, what has been impeded progress is the lack of suitable design, production and mask inspection software to pull the technology into current production practice, and this is what Numerical has brought to the party. The critical, and expensive, masks are being made by DuPont.


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