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IBM planning 22nm photomask development with immersion lithography

20 June 2008 | By Mark Osborne | News > Lithography

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22nm PhotomaskAlthough EUVL remains the favored choice by lithography experts for semiconductor imaging at the 22nm node, according to attendees at the 3rd SEMATECH Litho Forum in May, IBM and Toppan Printing have said that they are now collaborating on all phases of 22nm photomask process development using 193nm ArF immersion lithography technology. Initially, the two companies started development of photomask fabrication processes for the 45nm node in 2005 that was followed up with a 32nm agreement in 2007.

“This newest agreement will help ensure we can continue to deliver innovative chip applications for IBM systems and our OEM semiconductor clients,” said Michael Cadigan, General Manager, IBM Semiconductor Solutions. “This collaborative effort builds upon our joint progress at 45nm and 32nm and sets us on a path to deliver the photomasks needed for next-generation chip manufacturing production.”

Toppan sees the collaboration with IBM as a way to reaffirm itself as the leading photomask manufacturer as the processes developed for these leading-edge nodes can be transferred to mask shops around the world.

“We believe this joint initiative will place IBM and Toppan Printing at the forefront of advanced photomask technology development, and thus will enable us to contribute to the technological innovation in the world’s semiconductor industry,” commented Naoki Adachi, President of Toppan Printing. “Toppan Printing is the only photomask manufacturer in the world with the capability of providing high-quality photomask products in a timely manner in the U.S., Europe, Japan and other Asian countries.”

IBM and Toppan said in a statement that while the industry considers EUVL and other technologies such as nano-imprinting techniques for the 22nm node and below, many technical hurdles remain.

This indicates that the use of immersion lithography at the 22nm node - while not ideal due to imaging limitations and significant increases in mask costs due in part to the need for double patterning - is ensuring that device scaling can continue until a replacement technology is ready for adoption.

 

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