Grenon, Brian J. (Grenon Consulting, Inc., Colchester, VT 05446 USA)
Hector, Scott (Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., Austin, TX 78721 USA)
Over the last decade SEMATECH has provided significant guidance in predicting mask costs and their potential effects on the cost of manufacturing semiconductors. Additionally, these projections have been used to appropriately fund activities that could have the most impact on reducing mask costs, improving quality and cycle time. The most recent cost projections provide a comprehensive look at the impact of improvements to the mask fabrication process. We will provide projections that clearly indicate that appropriately funded mask technologies can have a significant impact on manufacturing yields and hence, cost and cycle time. While historical mask cost projections were realistic, the new projections represent the best estimates for mask costs over the next several years based on the current mask technology and processes. These projections are significantly more optimistic than previous estimates. These changes are due primarily to the introduction of new mask repair technologies, improvements in focused ion beam (FIB), nano-machining and femto-second laser repair.