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Cadence, Imec Disclose 3-nm Effort


SAN JOSE, Calif. , Feb. 28, 2018 – Cadence Design Systems and the Imec research institute disclosed that they are working toward a 3-nm tapeout of an unnamed 64-bit processor. The effort aims to produce a working chip later this year using a combination of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and immersion lithography.

So far, Cadence and Imec have created and validated GDS files using a modified Cadence tool flow. It is based on a metal stack using a 21-nm routing pitch and a 42-nm contacted poly pitch created with data from a metal layer made in an earlier experiment.

Imec is starting work on the masks and lithography, initially aiming to use double-patterning EUV and self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP) immersion processes. Over time, Imec hopes to optimize the process to use a single pass in the EUV scanner. Ultimately, fabs may migrate to a planned high-numerical-aperture version of today's EUV systems to make 3-nm chips.

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