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ASML details EUV litho production plan

Posted: 08 Jun 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:extreme ultraviolet? EUV? lithography?

ASML Holding NV has tipped the roadmap for the introduction of its first extreme UV (EUV) lithography machines at the IMEC Technology Forum.

The company is proposing a single platform approach with series of machines expected to show improving characteristics that will provide flexibility for the insertion of EUV litho in the chip manufacturing process, and a gradual migration of the platform from pre-production to mass-production status.

This flexibility will suit a technology which is not yet certain to take over from optical lithography, the current technology for making chips, but which is increasingly looking like one of very few approaches that has a chance of extending Moore's Law.

Martin van den Brink, executive VP for products and technology told an audience of senior executives as the IMEC Technology Forum that "EUV is the cost effective successor of 193nm lithography below 20nm." and that ASML believes it can extend EUV down to sub-5nm.

The company took delivery of a new [power] source in May and is "ready to integrate a system" van den Brink said.

This will be the first example of ASML's NXE platform of EUV lithography machines; the NXE3100 capable of between 60 and 100 wafers per hour throughput. This will have a numerical aperture of 0.25 and should be capable of 28nm resolution, the same as is being achieved on the EUV Advanced Development Tool installed in IMEC, but at a commercial throughput.

Improving resolution
The improved throughput is expected to come from a new light-source from Cymer Inc. capable of 100W illumination, which typically translates to 60W/hr throughput. This was shipped to IMEC in May for installation on the ADT. In the 2H 09 a further improvement in the source should take the illumination level to 200W and the potential throughput to 100W/hr or more, he said.

Meanwhile ASML will allow the application of a number of the techniques already developed for optical lithography, such as increasing the numerical aperture and allowing off-axis illumination to further improve the achievable resolution.

Van den Brink showed the conference a slide with the NXE 3300 and NXE 3350 addressing 22- and 16nm resolution respectively, while the NXE 3XX0, with an NA of 0.4 would push down to 11nm resolution. The target date for the shipment of this first preproduction machine, the NXE 3100, is Q2 2010.

Van den Brink also discussed likely introduction strategies for EUV lithography in memory fabs. He indicated that while commercial purchasing of tools would not begin before 2012 it could be delayed until 2014. However, on an economic analysis the optimum strategy for fabs was to undergo a gradual ramp of EUV lithography tool purchase and EUV production, rather than fast ramp either in 2012 or in 2014.

While the work on power sources seems to be making progress other challenges remain, including the development of sufficiently high resolution resists and reticle inspection, before EUV lithography can take over the role currently held by 193nm optical lithography

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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