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Samsung to push EUV litho by 2012

Posted: 23 Feb 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lithography? EUV? extreme ultraviolet?

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd made a startling disclosure at the LithoVision 2010: It wants extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography by 2012 despite signs that the technology will not be ready by that time.

Jeong-Ho Yeo, a principal engineer within the process development team at Samsung, said that EUV and the associated infrastructure must be ready by 2012!at least for Samsung. In fact, seeking to get a jump on its rivals, Samsung itself wants to go into production!albeit limited production!by 2012 using EUV, provided that the technology has overcome the challenges and is ready to roll.

In other words, Samsung wants EUV tools sooner or later. The company has ordered one of ASML Holding NV's "pre-production" EUV tools, which are reportedly due out this year or so. Rival Nikon Corp. is also developing EUV tools as well.

The question is whether the industry can deliver EUV technology by then. Some say yes. Some say no. Asked if EUV will be ready by 2012, Yeo told EE Times: "Good question."

Yeo said EUV still suffers from the familiar challenges: Lack of power sources, resists and defect-free masks. Cost is expected to be another issue, as ASML's pre-production tools are said to run nearly $90 million!each.

At present, Samsung is using 193nm, single-exposure immersion scanners for use in producing its latest and greatest DRAMs and NAND flash devices.

The company recently announced a separate 30nm DRAM and NAND flash line. With those technologies, Samsung indicated that it is using 193nm immersion, coupled with double-patterning techniques. The company is reportedly using a technology called spacer or self-aligned double-patterning.

The general problem with double-patterning is cost. In simple terms, the mask must be exposed twice in double-patterning. It is 2.5x more expensive than current 193nm immersion, due to the added process steps, Yeo said.

As a result, Samsung and others want EUV, which, in theory, brings single-exposure back into play, thereby lowering cost. And, in fact, Samsung has recently jumped on the EUV bandwagon!and for good reason: EUV is the best lithography option for the production of devices at the 20nm "half-pitch" node and below, Yeo said during a presentation at the LithoVision conference. The event, sponsored by Nikon Corp., is part of the SPIE Advanced Lithography conference.

He acknowledged that EUV still has several issues, which include the following challenges:

1. Defect-free masks. Following warning shots from Intel Corp., Sematech recently sounded the alarm bells!again. The chip-making consortium recently warned that there is still a major funding shortfall and a lack of mask inspection gear to enable EUV lithography. Samsung has jumped on the bandwagon.

To solve the problem, chip-making consortium Sematech has launched a consortium to develop metrology tools for detecting defects in advanced masks needed for EUV lithography.

2. Power sources. The industry has demonstrated a 70-watt power source for EUV, but a 400W system is required for high-throughput manufacturing.

3. Resists. There is a key gap below 22nm.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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