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Sematech to open R&D center for immersion lithography

Posted: 09 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:immersion lithography? 193nm tool? 300mm wafer?

International Sematech on Tuesday (July 6, 2004) announced the formation of an R&D center to develop and push immersion lithography into the marketplace.

Sematech's immersion Technology Center (iTC) will help develop 193nm tools and materials based on the emerging technology. The iTC is one of the first major programs of the newly established Advanced Materials Research Center (AMRC). The AMRC is a key technical component of the Texas Technology Initiative (TTI) combining public and private funding and research capabilities.

With a total estimated budget of $15 million, the Center will be staffed by Sematech. The chip consortium will work with a broad array of customers over a program lifetime of from two to four years.

The center will support the development of photoresists, fluids and other components for high numerical aperture, 193nm immersion technology. In immersion lithography, a liquid is interposed between an exposure tool's projection lens and a wafer. Immersion technology offers better resolution over conventional projection lithography because the lens can be designed with numerical apertures greater than one, which create the ability to produce smaller features.

"The iTC is the right program at the right time for developing what appears to be the most exciting breakthrough in litho technology in years," said Betsy Weitzman, VP and chief operations officer for Advanced Technologies at Sematech.

At present, major lithography suppliers such as ASML, Canon and Nikon are separately working on immersion tools for use at the 45nm node. Some chipmakers are looking to insert these tools before that time (see April 20 story).

Besides immersion, Sematech is also backing other next-generation lithography technologies. In 2002, Albany University and Sematech announced a deal on a joint, five-year program to accelerate the development of a next-generation lithography technology called extreme ultraviolet.

Under terms of the deal, Sematech is developing EUV lithography infrastructure focused on advanced work in three areas - mask blanks, resist and EUV extensions - at Albany University's new 300mm wafer cleanroom complex. The program is designated as International Sematech North (see January 28, 2003 story).

- Mark LaPedus

Silicon Strategies

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