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Laser etches finer lines for smaller ICs

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lasers? semiconductor? manufacturing?

Semiconductor manufacturing involves etching features onto a wafer using a laser. This process is limited by the wavelength of the light used by the laser. Thus, researchers say that a smaller wavelength can etch finer lines and reduce feature size by up to an order of magnitude. In pursuit of this, a group from Purdue University has developed an intense 13.5nm extreme UV light source.

The researchers bombarded tin (Sn) and lithium (Li) targets with laser beams to create an intensely bright plasma. They selected Sn and Li because their plasmas emit efficiently in the 13.5nm region, says Ryan Coons, one of the researchers. He and his colleagues used spectroscopy and a Faraday cup to analyze the emission features and debris produced in laser-produced tin and lithium plasmas, and others in his group modeled their physical processes.

Comparing the atomic and ionic debris and the emission features of Sn and Li plasmas, the group found that Sn plasmas produce twice as much emission as Li plasmas. However, the kinetic energy of Sn ions is considerably higher, though with a lower flux. More work is needed to perfect the development of this technology.

The report "Analysis of atomic and ion debris features of laser-produced Sn and Li plasmas" by Ryan Coons, Sivanandan Harilal, David Campos and Ahmed Hassanein appears in Journal of Applied Physics.

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