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Imec fires-up ASML‚??s NXE:3100 EUV lithography tool with XTREME light source

15 July 2011 | By Mark Osborne | News > Lithography

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Billed as an important milestone in imec’s ‘Advanced Lithography’ program, the research centre has successfully printed wafers using the new pre-production EUV scanner from ASML. The system also employs a laser assisted discharge plasma (LDP) source from XTREME technologies and is interfaced with a TEL Lithius Pro EUV process track. According to imec, ASML’s NXE:3100, is currently the only pre-production tool in the world equipped with an LDP source from XTREME technologies. The EUV tool is reported to cost approximatley €42 million.

Luc Van den hove, President and CEO of imec, noted, “We are excited with the current results and throughput we achieve. Our decision to implement the LDP source from XTREME technologies is an important added value for our partners since it allows them to test both our LDP (laser assisted discharge plasma) and the LPP (laser produced plasma) sources currently installed at other sites. We are convinced that our program will bring significant contributions to bringing EUV to mass manufacturing for the 16nm node by 2013.”

"Jointly with ASML and imec, our teams have worked hard to install the first LDP EUV source," said Marc Corthout, president of XTREME technologies. "We are pleased to be partnering with imec. Today is a major milestone in the advancement of EUV lithography. XTREME technologies’ LDP light source will enable high-resolution and high-throughput EUV lithography used in the mass manufacturing of advanced ICs with critical dimensions below 22nm. XTREME technologies’ LDP light source will thus enable the continuation of Moore's Law for multiple chip generations to come. Through its partnership with imec, XTREME technologies is committed to support the whole semiconductor industry in its transition to EUV", stressed Shiro Sugata, President & CEO of USHIO Inc.

The NXE:3100 integrates 4 image and 4 dose control sensors which were developed within imec’s CMORE development and prototyping service. Installation of these new sensors combined with new wafer tables made both chucks equivalent for overlay, enabling full ‘twin stage’-type operation. At the same time, off-axis illumination options have been installed, which at factory acceptance have proven to resolve sub-20nm features using dipole illumination.

"We are pleased that imec has joined the ranks of customers which have started exposing wafers with ASML's second-generation EUV tool," said Ron Kool, ASML Senior Vice President EUV. "The work at imec exemplifies the strong industry momentum behind EUV and will help prepare the ground for the introduction of EUV into high-volume manufacturing."

This work was executed in collaboration with imec’s key partners in its core CMOS programs Globalfoundries, INTEL, Micron, Panasonic, Samsung, TSMC, Elpida, Hynix, Fujitsu, Sony and Powerchip.

The ladder costs extra

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