Virtual Fab Helps to Reduce Carbon Footprint of Semiconductor Manufacturing Processes
The Belgium-based research and innovation hub imec developed a virtual fab model that enables the hub and its partners to assess current manufacturing choices, identify areas of focus, and project the future of the environmental impact of semiconductor manufacturing processes. The goal is to foster practical solutions for reducing global carbon emissions resulting from the lithography and etch process steps. The in-house virtual fab model was built within the imec.netzero software platform. Imec spotlighted the virtual fab at the 2023 SPIE Advanced Lithography + Patterning Conference in February as part of a quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of patterning in advanced integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with IC manufacturing are expected to quadruple in the next decade due to both the increasing complexity of advanced technologies and the projected growth of the total volume of wafers produced. To counter this scenario, leading semiconductor companies have committed to becoming carbon neutral or net zero by 2030 to 2050. In that context, imec launched its Sustainable Semiconductor Technologies and Systems (SSTS) program, gathering the supply chain to jointly target net-zero emissions for chip manufacturing.