[Beowulf] OT: speculation regarding the 22nm fab process

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Mon Sep 29 13:08:53 PDT 2008

In catching up on email from a week at the beach (got to meet RGB for the
first time since we were undergrads) and Slashdot had this item
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/19/0126232 regarding IBM's
22nm process. The explanation (maybe a week old) is that IBM usss
mathematics to compensate for a lithographic process limited naturally to
much less accuracy, say 44 or 34. Slashdot complains that "computational
scaling" is not a good enough explanation and they want to know more, which
got me thinking.

I recall the Hubble flaw; IIRC, the flaw in the mirror could (partly) be
compensated by mathematical analysis, as if the information content were
there, but distorted, so they just had to, um, re-tort. I imagine something
similar, in reverse, possible with lithography.

Imagine building a process at say 44 nm, then measuring it's output at 22nm
precision. I'm considering the 22nm scale measurement as a distortion. Then
compute the inverse; apply the inverse to your design; and feed the
distored, or as it were encoded, design to the input of the process; it's
(measured, not built) effect could be to produce a correct feature at 22nm.

Does that make physics sense? it does rather taste like cheating.

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