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TOK, Asahi Glass join with Sematech on extreme UV litho development efforts

25 February 2009 | By Tom Cheyney | News > Lithography

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sematech_mask_blankSematech announced that it will partner with Tokyo Ohka Kogyo (TOK) and Asahi Glass Co. (AGC) in separate joint development programs targeted on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. TOK, which singed a letter of intent (LOI), will participate in collaborative efforts to optimize and develop advanced photoresists and other imaging materials at Sematech's EUV Resist and Materials Development Center (RMDC) at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at the University of Albany, while AGC and the chipmaker consortium will work at CNSE on methods for improving EUV mask blank yield to accelerate commercial manufacturing readiness.

"We believe that the ability and experience of TOK combined with Sematech's expertise in EUV photoresist will accelerate our progress in tackling key challenges--such as resolution, linewidth roughness, and pattern collapse--in the critical area of advanced imaging," said John Warlaumont, Sematech's VP of advanced technologies.           

Over the past year, significant advances in EUV resists have been enabled by the RMDC through its two microexposure tools located at the CNSE and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Through Sematech's EUV resist development program, engineers and resist suppliers have made significant progress in improving resist resolution; the most recent results have demonstrated 22-nm half-pitch resolution.

As part of its collaboration with the consortium, AGC has assigned a team of engineers to the EUV Mask Blank Development Center with the goal of reducing defect levels to the 0.003 defects/cm2 at the printable defect size, which is required for manufacturing success. Producing defect-free mask blanks in the amounts needed for high-volume manufacturing is a key technical challenge that must be solved to prepare EUVL for cost-effective insertion at the 22-nm half-pitch generation and below.

"Sematech and AGC have already shared a great deal of technical success through collaboration over the past several years," said Mitsuhiko Komakine, manager of AGC’s EUV Mask Blank Development Group. "AGC is the only vertically integrated EUV blanks manufacturer from low thermal expansion material (LTEM) synthesis, to EUV mask blanks consisting of LTEM, deposited film, and resist film. Now in this side-by-side working relationship, our AGC team will benefit from accelerated learning as we leverage Sematech's integration within the IC industry."

Sematech's Warlaumont noted that the "incorporation of a commercial supplier within its programs is a highly innovative means to minimize this technology's time-to-manufacturing readiness. The industry must have access to high-quality EUV mask blanks in order to stay on its timeline for EUV lithography introduction, and especially with Asahi’s expertise and new level of engagement, this activity is positioned to deliver."

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Reader comments

That defect density is impossible even for a wafer.
By todd on 26 February 2009

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