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To make 45nm process manufacturing easier: just add water

Intel has said on multiple occasions that its 45nm process is on track for production 2007. In fact, Intel began sampling its Penryn 45nm chips just several weeks ago. At the IEDM, IBM and AMD described three technologies that hope to compete with Intel’s 45nm development: the use of immersion lithography, which AMD says will “deliver enhanced microprocessor design definition and manufacturing consistency,” ultra-low-K interconnect dielectrics to enhance performance-per-watt ratio and multiple enhanced transistor strain techniques.

Current process technologies use conventional lithography, which has significant limitations in defining microprocessor designs beyond the 65nm process technology generation. Immersion lithography uses a projection lens filled with purified water as part of the step-and-repeat lithography -- think of the same principles applied to immersion microscopy.

Immersion lithography provides increased flow of light, depth of focus and improved image fidelity that can improve chip-level performance and manufacturing efficiency. For example, the performance of an SRAM cell shows improvements of approximately 15 percent due to this enhanced process capability, without resorting to more costly double-exposure techniques.

In addition, AMD and IBM say that the use of porous, ultra-low-K dielectrics reduces interconnect capacitance, wiring delay, as well as lowering power dissipation. This advance is enabled through the development of an ultra-low-K process integration that reduces the dielectric constant of the interconnect dielectric while maintaining the mechanical strength. The addition of ultra-low-K interconnect provides a 15 percent reduction in wiring-related delay as compared to conventional low-K dielectrics.

In spite of the increased packing density of the 45nm generation transistors, IBM and AMD demonstrated multiple enhanced transistor strain techniques that give an 80 per cent increase in p-channel transistor drive current and a 24 per cent increase in n-channel transistor drive current compared to unstrained transistors. The companies claim that their achievement results in the highest CMOS performance reported to date in a 45nm process technology.

In November 2005, AMD and IBM announced an extension of their joint development efforts until 2011 covering 32nm and 22nm process technology generations. AMD and IBM expect the first 45nm products using immersion lithography and ultra-low-K interconnect dielectrics to be available in mid-2008.

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don't diss intel's 45nm
By Visual on 12/13/2006 6:43:51 AM , Rating: 3
stating that intel's 45nm process would be necesserily subpar compared to IBM/AMD is pretty unfounded...

while it's true intel decided to start 45nm production without immersion, it's also a fact they've received immersion tools from nikon for evaluation and aren't ignoring the option. immersion processes will start being used in 2007 by various small manufacturers, but the tech still isn't proven and developed enough for large scale application like intel needs. so if intel wants to have 45nm working this early, the "dry" proccess is their only choice.

if immersion technology proves itself later on, if it can lead to lower costs or higher yelds, it would be quite possible for intel to refit its fabs. thats one of the good things of immersion lithography - it can be applied to current tools.
until that time, intel gets the benefit to be earlier to market with 45nm products.

RE: don't diss intel's 45nm
By evildorf on 12/13/2006 4:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, I'm new to the DT forums but I'm not understanding why the OP on this comment was modded down. Intel will indeed be first to market with a 45nm process. And, since there are no products for actual comparison, assuming the technologies AMD/IBM are implementing will produce devices with superior performance is, in fact, premature.
On another topic, is there a link to a more detailed description of the immersion tech? Are they using it for a better beam spot size? And if so, why use water instead of say, an specialized oil like in immersion microscopy?

RE: don't diss intel's 45nm
By masher2 on 12/13/2006 6:53:59 PM , Rating: 4
> "I'm not understanding why the OP on this comment was modded down."

The short answer is...because some forum visitors are immature and poorly educated.

> "Are they using it for a better beam spot size? ...why use water instead of say, an specialized oil like in immersion microscopy? "

When light travels through a material, its wavelength is reduced by the refractive index of that material. This increases its resolving power, and allows you to etch smaller features without resorting to higher-frequency light.

Water is being used primarily because its refractive index is high enough to hit the 45nm node, and using a very pure, deionized water introduces less defects than would oils.
However, water immersion is insufficient for the 32nm node. For that, I think we'll either see EUV or a oil immersion variant.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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