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  • Were suiting up to take you inside a clean room that’s building an engineering marvel

  • thatll push the entire electronics industry to the next frontierThey're both amazing

  • machines and scary machines. There's an enormous amount of complexity with them. There's an

  • enormous number of things that can potentially go wrong. It's something that you don't necessarily

  • sleep well at night, just having the machine on your floor. It’s about the size of a

  • school bus, weighing over 180,000 kilograms, with over 100,000 parts, and 3,000 interlocking

  • cablesPop the hood and youll see lasers shooting tiny droplets of tin, generating

  • plasma thatll get collected and reflected by a series of mirrors, to then etch nanoscale

  • patterns onto chips thatll eventually go into your next cell phoneAnd after 30 years

  • of innovations in physics, chemistry, and material science, it’s about ready for its debut.

  • An integrated circuit, or chip, is one of the biggest innovations of the 20th

  • century. It launched a technological revolution, created Silicon Valley, and everyone’s got

  • one in their pocketBut if you zoomed in on one of those chips, I mean, really zoomed

  • in, you’d find a highly complex, nanoscale sized city that’s expertly designed to send

  • information back and forthSemiconductor lithography is the ultimate alchemy, turning

  • sand into gold. You start with the silicon wafer. You add insulators, add something called

  • a gate which you apply a voltage to it, and it turns on or off the flow of electrons.

  • That's the little switch that's sort of does the zero to one's that you always hear about

  • You build up a sequence of layers. The network, the streets and buildings

  • that you need in order to make these transistors and interconnect those transistors.

  • At the end you can turn that into something that has substantially more value than a bucket

  • of sand. At big tech conferences, chip manufacturers will announce theyve hit impossibly small

  • new milestones, like 22nm then 14nm and 10nm designsThat means theyve found a way

  • to shrink the size and increase the number of features on a chip, which ultimately improves

  • the overall processing powerThis is what’s been driving the semiconductor industry - a

  • drumbeat called Moore’s LawMoore's Law is an expectation. It's not a natural lawIt's

  • an expectation that we innovate at a pace of roughly doubling the density every two

  • years. All of those things allow us to offer better productsallow us to offer cheaper

  • products with the same capability and that in turn drives the demand for the overall

  • industry. That means that we've got to be able to cram in, more and more functionality

  • per square millimeter on a chip. All the designs and streets and everything have to be smaller

  • and smaller in dimensions. Moore's Law has been predicted to be dying for a long time

  • and yet it never is. Because each generation of engineers knows it's their expectation

  • to keep working on it, to keep going at a certain pace. The core technique at the heart

  • of this expectation is called photolithographyIt’s a chip manufacturing process that’s similar

  • to darkroom photography, but instead of a negative for a picture, theyre using something called

  • a mask or reticle to expose a geometric printIt's basically a projection system where we have

  • a light source, a mask or reticle, which is the blueprint, then the wafer. And we have

  • to manage the light on the way through to get a perfect reproduction of that pattern

  • on a silicon wafer. That enables you to build all of the billions of transistors that you

  • need in order to make a functional chip. The light sources are lasers, created from a mixture

  • of gases, like carbon dioxide or argon fluoride. When excited by an electric current, the gas

  • molecules will emit laser radiation that are then tuned to a specific wavelength that imprints

  • the chip designThere’s a drive to get the light source to shorter and shorter wavelengths,

  • because the shorter it gets, the more transistors you can cram onto a chipIn terms of the

  • electromagnetic spectrum, what we can see visibly is about 400 and 650 nanometersThe

  • chip industry’s gone from 365 nm wavelengths to 248 nanometers to something called argon

  • fluoride immersion. So argon fluoride refers to a wavelength, 193 nanometers.

  • It is produced using a deep

  • ultraviolet laser light source. The industry tried to go to 157 nanometer light, and that

  • failed after companies had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in it. The field then had

  • to invent new technical tricks for the systems in use todayThey actually put water

  • in between the bottom lens element and the wafer, because the wavelength of light in

  • water is quite a bit shorter. When I first heard about it, I thought it was just crazy.

  • You're going to get water all over the stages, and the electronics inside the tool. There

  • was some very clever engineering that allowed them to contain that water in a little puddle

  • as the wafer is going back and forth at about 700 millimeters a second.

  • But that turns out to be coming near the end of

  • its ability to produce even finer and finer features. So to keep Moore’s Law on track

  • without breaking the laws of physics, chip manufacturers have been racing to bring this

  • technology online: Extreme Ultraviolet LithographyIt takes the wavelength of light

  • from 193 nanometers down to 13.5. The jump is much larger than what we would normally

  • do. And that's partly because it's more of a disruptive technologyThe first academic

  • work on EUV was done in 1986, when I was still an undergraduate in college. Through my whole

  • career, we've been hearing that EUV was coming. There was so many fundamental problems with

  • using these soft x-ray wave lengths for a lithography tool. We're down to the point

  • where the amount of variation can be measured in atoms. And so you have to work very hard

  • to have a control of those dimensions. And that is where ASML comes inASML is the

  • most important tech company you've never heard of. We build the big machines that make small

  • chips. EUV was a massive step for us to undertake. Not only did we need to have an entirely new

  • scanner because we had to work in a vacuum and at wavelengths where you need to have

  • only reflective optics which required a huge amount of innovationBut we also needed

  • a new light source as well. In fact, it's the first time ever, that we've needed to

  • change the light source and huge elements of the scanner design at the same time. But

  • for this story, were just going to focus on the lasersHere’s how they work in

  • the machineThe source of the light is a tiny little droplet of tin. They're smaller

  • than the diameter of a human hair in which we fire across the vessel and then we intercept

  • those with a pulsed laser beam of very high powerAnd I have to hit it with an accuracy

  • of just a few microns even though it's traveling at, let me say at the speed in excess of the speed limit.

  • It forms a plasma that emits EUV light. There's a collector mirror that collects that light

  • and sends it into the scanner. Then there are four mirrors that essentially shape that

  • light into a slit that bounces off the reticleYou will see a reticle stage doing this, and a

  • wafer stage doing this. And what is happening is step and scan. Which basically means we

  • continue to reproduce that particular pattern over and over againJust to give you a sense

  • of the mechanical complexity even, the wafer stage itself is something like 200 kilograms

  • in weight and yet it's able to accelerate faster than a fighter jet.

  • The thing that probably had people the most skeptical was, getting the power on the source up. When we

  • started out we didn't generate the power that we wanted and we struggled at the beginning

  • to understand why. Every year it was slipping out, and the actual power we were getting

  • was stuck around very low levels, impractical levelsWe continued to dive into looking

  • more fundamentally at the basic plasma physics. What were we missing? It was around about

  • 2015 where we finally unlocked the secret. It's all about exactly controlling how you

  • deliver that energy to the droplet and then how you would deliver it to the tin afterwards.

  • It becomes very critical in pushing that conversion efficiency up. You don't just need to hit

  • the tin droplet with one laser pulse but, in fact, two. The first of those pulses, shapes

  • the target in a way that enables us to get this high conversion efficiency and then the

  • second pulse of course, generates that very hot plasma that we need for generating 13.5

  • nanometers at high power. Once we crested that, it became, I wouldn't say easy, but

  • at least we saw the path and we were able to make changes to the system and we could

  • see the immediate benefit. We actually still do

  • work looking at how do we continue to push the power and the features of the light source

  • that will support future scanners. Bunny suits are required around these precision tools,

  • because the tiniest particle could kill a wafer pattern.

  • The major source of particles in a clean room is actually

  • the people. The equipment generally, unless something is actually scraping, something's

  • misadjusted, they don't generate particles. The bunny suits are to protect the tools,

  • and the wafers from the contaminationHere we have, largely the manufacturing activities

  • as associated with the droplet generator. We also have an area we call integration where

  • we look at the entire source and how it performs.

  • When you go in to look at an EUV source, you see

  • a large vessel with lots of interconnection everything. We have gas, power, water, etc.

  • that's needs to be delivered. We'll see a beam transport system. So where we actually

  • bring the high power laser beam into the vessel. ASML has been shipping this machine to chip

  • manufacturers and it takes 40 freight containers, spread over 20 trucks and 3 cargo planes just

  • to ship one of themThis is an army of people putting things together and pushing the edge

  • of technology to make it work at all. And then of course having to make it work day

  • in and day out.The EUV scanner is the most technically advanced tool of any kind, that's

  • every been made. It's so far from normal human experience. I can't think of anything that

  • has pushed the envelope in so many areas. There were many knowledgeable people

  • in the field who just said. "You can never make a practical tool this way." We're just

  • starting to enter into high volume manufacturing with EUV powered scanners and in fact, we're

  • just starting to see some end products that are actually coming out that have chips that

  • have been enabled by EUV technology. There's an insatiable amount of data, so you can build

  • chips to store data, process data, move data around. The whole cloud is lots and lots of

  • chips, doing all three of those things. I was talking with some people that are building

  • the next particle accelerators and they're going to generate trillions of events every

  • second. And there's no way to make sense of all of that even with this generation

  • of computers. So you've got to go build ever faster computers, larger data storage, just

  • to make sense of the science that's going on. Part of predicting the future is around

  • diagnosing trends in technology. If you don't know what the future holds, are you afraid

  • of that or are you encouraged by it? And I'm in the category of being encouraged by it because

  • there's things to do that you haven't done before, things to create that you haven't

  • created before. And then you may not set out to change the world, but we changed the world

  • one step at a time.

Were suiting up to take you inside a clean room that’s building an engineering marvel

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極端物理學將摩爾定律推向新的高度 (The Extreme Physics Pushing Moore’s Law to the Next Level)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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