013_EETE

EETE FEBRUARY 2013

Flash Forward at the leading edge? By Peter Clarke sandisk corp. (Milpitas, Calif.), a leading supplier of data storage products, has announced it intends to begin the transition of its flash products to 1Y-nm generation semiconductors in the third quarter of 2013. The company is already producing high volumes of 19-nm based products, more than 50 percent of its output in 4Q12, although 24-nm flash memory will have a “tail” that will last throughout 2013, the company said in a recent conference call to discuss its 4Q12 financial results. In fact SanDisk’s announcement means that Flash Forward Ltd., a manufacturing joint venture between Toshiba and SanDisk with a relatively new Fab 5 300-mm wafer fab at Toshiba’s Yokkaichi campus in Mie prefecture, Japan, will be making close the most miniaturized commercial integrated circuits in the history of the semiconductor industry. That is unless one of the few rivals, IM Flash Technologies, Samsung or SK Hynix can get there first. The SanDisk roadmap has the 1Y-nm process lowering the cost of 128-Gbit memory ICs in 2013 and a 1Z-nm process taking monolithic memory to 256-Gbits in 2014. But judging who is most miniaturized all depends on how you define the 1Y-nm generation. Over the last few years flash memory producers have started to become increasingly coy about declaring the minimum feature size of their processes. It started when one of the companies, I forget which, started talking of 30-nm class and 20-nm class manufacturing processes. By this the company meant a process with a minimum geometry between 30-nm and 39-nm and between 20-nm and 29-nm, respectively. The other manufacturers quickly followed suit. The psychology seems to be that if a company went public with the geometry detail before they got into volume manufacturing there would be concerns that a rival would somehow trump them and steal business. Of course once a product is out on the market it is possible for reverse engineering consultancies to cross-section chips and make independent assessments of the minimum geometry. This is way of labeling chip generations is slightly different to the logic business where for each node a number is given but the nomenclature is becoming increasingly arbitrary. We have the prospect of 16-nm and 14-nm FinFET nodes coming in 2013 or 2014 that will use 20-nm back-end processes and are effectively 20-nm processes. What we now know is that for Flash Forward, Toshiba and SanDisk, the 2X-nm node is a 24-nm node, while the 1X-nm node is 19-nm node. This would seem to put 1Y-nm at somewhere around 15-nm or 14-nm. That would give some room for the 1Z-nm generation to come in at 11- or 10-nm, which is now being touted as the last possible generation of NAND flash. We will see. Nano-positioning system relies on magnetic levitation, achieves 10nm resolution By Julien Happich in co peration with the IMMS (Institut für Mikroelektronik- und Mechatronik Systeme) and the Department of Mechatronics of Ilmenau University of Technology, Physik Instrumente (PI) has designed a novel nano-positioning system based on magnetic levitation. The platform levitates on a magnetic field that is generated by six coils and is actively monitored via a 6-D sensor. The magnetic field functions as a drive and actively guides the platform. The drive and the compact high-resolution measurement system with six degrees of freedom were developed so that the platform remains passive, in other words no cable connections are necessary. A two-dimensional, optically incremental measurement system records the position with capacitive sensors and serves to control the drive in all axes. In this way, objects can be moved linearly or rotationally on a plane with a previously unattained guiding accuracy. “Currently, the PIMag 6D’ which is already quite an advanced development study can position with a resolution of 10 nm” explains Dr. Rainer Gloess, Head of Advanced Mechatronics at PI. Such a nano-positioning system could replace air-bearing solutions and magnetic linear motors typically found in inspection and manufacturing systems, in the semiconductor industry. “If the system moves on a circular path with a diameter of 100 nm, for example, the maximum deviation from the ideal path is only a few nanometers”, added Gloess. The current prototype has a motion range of 100x100x0.15mm³ and supports trajectory motions at an acceleration of up to 2m/s2 and a velocity of up to 100 mm/s, with nanometer precision. The digital motion controller, based on a modular system from PI, can process different geometry files as well as coordinate transformations and offers an optimum basis for a successful new product line. Physik Instrumente ‘s new nanopositioning system: the passive rod levitates on a magnetic field, which actively guides it. 12 Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE FEBRUARY 2013
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