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Nikon to introduce immersion scanner by 2006

Posted: 05 Dec 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nikon? immersion lithography tool? asml? canon?

Nikon Corp. said it will begin selling immersion lithography tools by 2006, joining the two other major lithography vendors - ASML and Canon, which announced their plans for immersion scanners last month.

Nikon will have an alpha machine ready by the second half of 2004, allowing customers to engage in evaluations of immersion lithography at the Nikon facilities here. The Nikon alpha system will built based on the company's existing 193nm scanner, and will have a projection lens with a numerical aperture (NA) of 0.85.

In 2005, Nikon will start sales of its beta tool to customers for evaluation and test production in their own development labs. The numerical aperture of the lens will be improved to 0.92. Then in 2006, Nikon will begin sales of a production tool with high throughput for volume production, with an NA higher than 1.0.

Since last June, Nikon has worked with Tokyo Electron Ltd on development of a system for the supply and retrieval of purified water. A 1mm film of water between the lens and the wafer changes the wavelength of the light, reducing 193nm light to about 135nm. However, development of immersion lithography involves water-related issues, such as handling of the wet resists, auto focusing through the water, minimizing the number of large bubbles, and keeping the water pure and de-gassed.

A Nikon spokesman said during its feasibility study Nikon has come up with solutions to those issues, and that no serious bottlenecks have arisen.

By reducing the wavelength to 135nm, immersion scanners based on the argon-fluoride 193nm lasers probably can be used for the 45nm technology node, expected to go into early production in 2007.

- Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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