Efforts to develop e-beam direct-write lithography

By : |February 28, 2010 0

SAN JOSE: Multiple efforts to develop e-beam direct-write lithography have achieved progress, it was reported at the SPIE Advanced Lithography conference.

However, Kurt Ronse, prominent researcher director of lithography department at IMEC, the nanoelectronics research centre, said at the conference that production tools are at least 5 years away.

Kurt Ronse advised companies and consortiums which develop e-beam direct write technology to target the 16-nm node because the technology will not be commercially viable by the 22-nm node, which is the target of many of the development efforts. He recommended that these groups initially apply their technology to mask-writing tools (where throughput requirement will not be so difficult) as a shorter-term and intermediate step.

According to Kurt Ronse, chip manufacturers are eager to get direct-write lithography, which can reduce or remove the need for photo-masks that are getting more expensive.

He said the resolution of tools is getting closer to acceptable range for the 22-nm and 16-nm nodes, but that overlay control and throughput stay far short of what is required.

The cost of a photo-mask doubles at each new technology node. Analysts and industry executives say that the increasing cost of photo-masks is mainly to blame for the declining ASIC starts.

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