WEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND-Diode-pumped solid-state laser manufacturer Powerlase is building an impressive body of collaborations in the field of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. The company’s latest partner in this field is with the University College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland); the goal of the project is to further the development of laser-produced plasma as an EUV lithography light source.
The aim of the research is to provide the industry with a proven, robust, and cost effective laser product capable of providing a suitable light source for use in EUV lithography. Researchers from UCD will use vacuum equipment, which has been provided by Powerlase, to conduct a study of ion-emissions of the laser-produced plasma EUV source. The laser-plasma EUV approach is widely considered the most promising technology for the high-volume manufacture of semiconductors at 32 nm and below.
This latest development follows Powerlase’ previously reported research collaborations in EUV lithography with the Extreme Ultravioltew Lithography Association in Japan and leading US academics at the University of Central Florida. In fact, Powerlase and UCF have already announced a major development in the field of EUV. The breakthrough sees the combination of two lasers for the first time in the generation of a laser produced plasma EUV light source. The research will develop the EUV approach into a workable solution for high-volume manufacture of semiconductor chips.
In addition, the conversion efficiency of the laser light into 13.5-nm wavelength EUV light from both lasers is similar to when they are used independently of each other. This demonstrates the capacity to add more lasers to the process without lowering the conversion efficiency-a vital element in making EUV a viable high-volume manufactue solution.
Over the past 12 months, Powerlase has strengthened its position as a global laser supplier through the development of dynamic distribution channels, with direct and channel operations in Europe, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China. The company reported a 400% increase in revenues in 2006 (ended Dec. 31), from £2.4 million to £9.5 million (US$4.7 million to US$18.6 million).