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

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Mon Sep 29 17:17:02 PDT 2008

I can well imagine that the topic is very competitive at some level; and I'm
certainly not seeking to leech industrial secrets from IBM or anyone else.
I'm just curious about the physics plausibility of something vaguely along
those lines. To quote from someone who replied offline,

"...But you[r] description was a little weak, as when you wrote ''Then
compute the inverse'' whereas sharpening-up an image by using the
appropriate computed holograph/diffraction mask is not usually described as
computing an inverse.  Also, it assumes that the features are larger than
the wavelength of the light so that you can take advantage of the
diffraction effects...."

I'm sure calling my description "a little weak" was generous :-)

Lots of the readers of this list are professional physicists working with
sensitive material. I intend no slight and expect no counter-contractual
revelations :-)

That said, I'm pleased with myself to have composed a paragraph of material
outside my areas of expertise, but which provoked some reaction :-)  But as
a physicist, I could take lessons from Democritus.

And you can even beat me at chess, so, um, fear my
enumerative-combinatorics-implemented-in-C :-) But sheesh, probably someone
does that better than I do, too.


P.S. do you have a kyu or dan in Go?

On 9/29/08, Vincent Diepeveen <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> Hi Peter,
> There is thousands of people working in those companies that produce those
> machines, like ASML here does do.
> ASML arguably has the best machines of the planet and that can get proven
> by the fact that they can deliver to more and
> more companies world wide.
> I happen to know several who work or worked at ASML, and they all share 1
> thing.
> Even if i talk to them, what ASML is doing is covered in total secrecy. If
> i'd say there is a total information stop on
> *how* they get things done, that is still an understatement.
> It is far easier to get military informations, and i am not joking here,
> than information about the new upcoming ASML machines,
> not to mention how they want to solve problems there.
> Software is however a very important component of those machines. It has a
> lot of embedded processors.
> Really a lot.
> Where it is relative easy to figure out information on new upcoming
> processors and hardware to support that,
> the hardware to produce them is such custom tailored hardware, size of the
> machines is simply limited by the
> maximum size of an object that a jumbo can carry to give one example, and
> the users using those machines aren't
> greedy to give out information with respect to those machines either.
> Maybe they can produce bigger machines when the A380 gets more popular.
> So all replies you're gonna get with respect to this is gonna be written by
> guys who do not work at those companies themselves.
> Vincent
> On Sep 29, 2008, at 10:08 PM, Peter St. John wrote:
>  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.
>> Peter
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