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Imec rolls 300mm directed self-assembly process line

Posted: 14 Feb 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:directed self-assembly? EUV lithography? 300mm?

Imec has developed what it touts as the world's first 300mm fab-compatible directed self-assembly (DSA) process line within its pilot fab. The research institute collaborated with the University of Wisconsin, AZ Electronic Materials and Tokyo Electron Ltd in this technology to improve optical and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

DSA is an alternative patterning technology that enables frequency multiplication through the use of block copolymers. When used in conjunction with an appropriate pre-pattern that directs the orientation for patterning, DSA can reduce the pitch of the final printed structure. It can also be used to repair defects and repair uniformity in the original print. This repair feature is especially useful in combination with EUV lithography, which today is characterized by local variation in the critical dimension, especially in case of small contacts.

Imec boasts a coater/developer from Tokyo Electron and DSA materials together with pattern transfer and metrology system in the cleanroom ready for chipmakers. It also features the metrology toolkit including DSA defect inspection, and in-house pattern transfer capabilities in the same fab. With established 248nm, 193nm (dry and immersion) and EUV lithography tool, Imec aims at further developing the possibilities of DSA repair in combination with EUV lithography to scale it to production level.


14nm polystyrene lines on 28nm pitch after PMMA removal fabricated by DSA using 193nm immersion based 84nm pitch pre-pattern (left) and demonstration of the ability to repair a 200nm gap in the pre-pattern (right).

"We are excited with this achievement, as this enables us to expand the scope of our research offering and toolset bringing more value to our partners," noted Kurt Ronse, director lithography department at Imec. "The availability of a DSA processing line enables us to further push the limits of 193nm immersion lithography and overcome some of the critical concerns for EUV lithography. This allows us to further push the limits of Moore's law."

"Juan de Pablo and I and the University of Wisconsin team are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Imec. Our work together results in unprecedented integration of DSA with manufacturing-ready tools and materials, allows investigation of the ultimate potential and possible limits of DSA not possible in an academic setting, and provides exceptional educational opportunities for our students. We are gratified to be on a pathway with Imec toward commercialization of technology we have spent almost 15 years developing," stated Paul Nealey of the University of Wisconsin.

Imec is allowing participation to its core CMOS programs to its partners that include Globalfoundries, Intel, Micron, Panasonic, Samsung, TSMC, Elpida, Hynix, Fujitsu and Sony.

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