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First EUV tool ships amid power, tech concerns

Posted: 07 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EUV lithography tool? EUV throughput? ASML's second-generation EUV systems?

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd was reported to have purchased the world's first "pre-production" extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tool from ASML Holding NV.

However, what experts are more concerned about is whether EUV is ready for prime time. To date, the power source and other technologies for EUV have yet to be finalized. Sources also revealed that the throughput still poses challenges as the tool only manages 10 to 12 wafers per hour, a figure way below that required by high-volume production fabs.

In its recent results, ASML said it shipped the first of its second-generation EUV systems, the NXE:3100, to an undisclosed customer manufacturing site. The NXE:3100 will offer a resolution of 27nm with a numerical aperture (NA) of 0.25, overlay of less than 4.5nm and a throughput of 60 wafers per hour.

A "pre-production" EUV scanner from ASML runs about 60 million Euros, or $86.9 million, per unit. Some say that price tag could hit $125 million when ASML ships a production-worthy tool.

Five additional NXE:3100 systems are in various stages of buildup in ASML's clean room in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. All of these machines will have been shipped to customers by mid-2011.

Samsung reportedly obtained the first tool. Future customers include Intel, Toshiba, TSMC, Hynix, and IMEC. ASML declined to comment on the customer and power source issues.

"We did ship the first NXE:3100 system at the beginning of Q410. It was installed at the customer's R&D site and did expose wafers before the end of the year. We haven't disclosed the customer," according to a spokesman for ASML. "Exactly where customers choose to insert EUV is of course their decision and based on a number of factors."

"Updates on source power will be given by all parties (ASML, Cymer, Ushio/Xtreme, Gigaphoton) at SPIE," the spokesman said.

For its part, Samsung hopes to produce DRAMs at the sub-20nm node with EUV. Hynix and Micron are also looking at EUV for similar reasons. On the logic front, IBM Corp.'s "fab club" is looking to insert EUV at the 14nm node.

If EUV is not ready, IBM also has the option to move to 193nm, double patterning, plus various computational lithography techniques, said Gary Patton, vice president of IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center, in a recent interview.

Patton said there are still concerns about the power source, resists and defect-free mask technology for EUV.

ASML's rival, Nikon Corp., believes EUV will not be ready for the 22nm node. Nikon has devised two EUV alpha tools. One is installed at the company's headquarters, while one is running in Selete, a Japanese R&D organization.

Nikon believes the world will use 193nm immersion and double-patterning at 22nm. It is shipping the NSR-S620D for 32nm double patterning, with extendibility to 22nm applications. It competes with ASML's 193nm immersion tool, dubbed the TWINSCAN NXT:1950i. Jean-Pierre Joosting
??EE Times

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