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Proceedings Paper

Economic consequences of high throughput maskless lithography
Author(s): John G. Hartley; Lakshmi Govindaraju
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Paper Abstract

Many people in the semiconductor industry bemoan the high costs of masks and view mask cost as one of the significant barriers to bringing new chip designs to market. All that is needed is a viable maskless technology and the problem will go away. Numerous sites around the world are working on maskless lithography but inevitably, the question asked is "Wouldn't a one wafer per hour maskless tool make a really good mask writer?" Of course, the answer is yes, the hesitation you hear in the answer isn't based on technology concerns, it's financial. The industry needs maskless lithography because mask costs are too high. Mask costs are too high because mask pattern generators (PG's) are slow and expensive. If mask PG's become much faster, mask costs go down, the maskless market goes away and the PG supplier is faced with an even smaller tool demand from the mask shops. Technical success becomes financial suicide - or does it? In this paper we will present the results of a model that examines some of the consequences of introducing high throughput maskless pattern generation. Specific features in the model include tool throughput for masks and wafers, market segmentation by node for masks and wafers and mask cost as an entry barrier to new chip designs. How does the availability of low cost masks and maskless tools affect the industries tool makeup and what is the ultimate potential market for high throughput maskless pattern generators?

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 November 2005
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5992, 25th Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology, 599226 (8 November 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.631878
Show Author Affiliations
John G. Hartley, Univ. at Albany (United States)
Lakshmi Govindaraju, Univ. at Albany (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5992:
25th Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology
J. Tracy Weed; Patrick M. Martin, Editor(s)

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