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JMAR announces breakthrough in lithography technology

Posted: 10 Jul 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:JMAR? Collimated Plasma Lithography? semiconductor? silicon? GaAs?

JMAR Technologies Inc. has selected "Collimated Plasma Lithography," or "CPL," to more accurately describe the breakthrough technology it is currently developing. The technology is intended to provide the semiconductor industry with a more efficient, cost-effective method for processing the higher performance silicon and GaAs chips that will be needed to support the future needs of the world's microelectronics industry.

Henceforth, the company will use the CPL in lieu of, or in addition to, the term "X-ray Lithography", or "XRL," to denote JMAR's proprietary collimated, 1nm laser plasma lithography technology.

JMAR Chairman and CEO John S. Martinez, Ph.D., said, "In the past, the term "X-ray Lithography" has been used as a catch-all phrase by the industry to describe a variety of quite different lithography processes based-on various forms of X-ray light sources, including electron synchrotron storage rings, or SOR's; Extreme Ultraviolet, or EUV; Dense Plasma Focus, or DPF; JMAR's Collimated Plasma Lithography, or CPL; and others.

"CPL represents an important breakthrough in advanced lithography and because of that it deserves to be judged on its own merits," Dr. Martinez noted. "Once objectively evaluated, we believe CPL will clearly distinguish itself as a viable alternative to succeed conventional processes. Changing the way in which we refer to our lithography technology was a necessary step in differentiating it from technologies developed by others in the past.

He continued, "CPL incorporates three new breakthrough light-source technologies originated at JMAR Research Inc. (JRI) the company's advanced light research division in San Diego. It is these breakthroughs in light-source technology which differentiate CPL from all other competitive technologies. The first is our very high performance, extremely reliable, all-solid-state laser system called "Britelight," which produces a unique train of tightly-focused, extremely high optical-quality laser pulses."

"The Britelight pulses are focused into JMAR's second patented breakthrough technology," added Edmond Turcu, Ph.D., JMAR's chief scientist. "It is a wavelength conversion device, or 'converter,' about the size of a microwave oven, that transforms the Britelight infrared laser pulses into the 1nm wavelength CPL light that etches the circuit designs onto semiconductor wafers. In the converter, Britelight's tightly-focused laser pulses generate a continuous, precisely-timed stream of brilliant 205m(x) 'hot spots' having temperatures more than 100 times those found on the surface of the sun. Through this wavelength conversion process, a record high of 9 percent of the laser beam's energy is converted into CPL light for optimum lithography performance."

Dr. Martinez said, "CPL's third breakthrough technology is the novel polycapillary 'collimator' we developed jointly with X-ray Optical Systems Inc., an advanced optical system producer. It is a simple, yet highly sophisticated device that is uniquely tailored to JMAR's CPL source. Staring at the bright hot spot in the converter, the collimator efficiently gathers up much of the one-nm light generated there and directs it to the mask/wafer target combination with close to suitable lithographic divergence, thereby enabling the CPL source to print circuit patterns onto the wafers at extremely high resolution, sub-100nm feature sizes."

Daniel J. Fleming, Ph.D., president of JMAR/SAL NanoLithography Inc., or JSAL, commented, "The remaining elements of the company's CPL process are the small-feature proximity photomasks needed to 'shadow' a mask pattern onto a photoresist-coated wafer substrate, and the faster-acting photoresists that will speed-up wafer processing throughput. JMAR's current contracts from DARPA contain important tasks for both photomasks and resists. Recently, under a two-year contract from JMAR, IBM Corporation agreed to deliver a large number of high-performance proximity masks for JMAR's upcoming CPL system demonstrations. To produce these masks, IBM will draw on the extensive advancements it has made in 1nm wavelength mask manufacturing technology in recent years."

Dr. Fleming added, "JRI is now preparing its first, fully-engineered high-performance CPL light-source for integration into an advanced stepper developed by the company's JSAL stepper system division in Vermont. When the CPL sources are integrated into our current JSAL steppers, our systems will have a factory floor footprint comparable to today's typical deep ultraviolet (DUV) optical lithography systems."

Dr. Martinez emphasized, "The bottom line is, CPL is a technology of the future that's ready to do the job now and, because of its extendibility, it will be an important technology for many years to come. Properly financed, we have every confidence that CPL will deliver the performance the semiconductor industry is looking for at a much lower cost than any other lithography technology now being developed."

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