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IEDM: Moore's Law Seen Hitting Big Bump at 14-nm Node

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The lack of next-generation lithography could mean that chips made at the 14-nm process node will deliver as little as half the performance boost of a new node and still come with a significant cost premium, according to experts at the recent International Electron Devices Meeting.

IMEC research center CEO Luc van den Hove says the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tools needed to make 14-nm chips more efficient will not be available for limited commercial use until 2014. Current 193-nm immersion lithography systems will make the cost of 14-nm wafers more than 90 percent greater than 28-nm wafers. EUV would reduce that increase to just under 60 percent, van den Hove notes.

The increased cost comes from the need to make as many as three exposures with today's systems compared to one with EUV. New nodes typically lead to a 30-percent increase in performance. "I believe the time to decide lithography options for 14 nm is basically now, and it's clear EUV is not ready for the challenge," says IMEC's Kurt Ronse. "We believe the problems are not fundamental, they are engineering but it will require time."

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