EE Times heard Moore's Law is anticipated to hit a bump at 14nm. IMEC chief executive Luc van den Hove claims the cost of making 14nm waers with today's 193nm immersion lithography systems will be more than 90 percent higher than the cost of today's 28nm wafers. The use of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tools is anticipated to shave that increase in cost to just under 60 percent, but EUV tools aren't expected to be commercially available until 2014 or later.
The cost comes from the need to make as many as three exposures with today’s systems compared to just one with EUV. “The triple patterning is too complex so you will have to relax design rules or the chips will not yield,” said Kurt Ronse, an IMEC lithography specialist.
As a result, 14-nm chips likely will deliver about 15 to 20 percent performance boosts over the prior generation, rather than the typical 30 percent boost, estimated Ronse.
“It is likely some design rules at 14 nm will have to be relaxed somewhat,” said van den Hove in his keynote. “I believe the time to decide lithography options for 14 nm is basically now, and its clear EUV is not ready for the challenge,” he added, in response to a question.