Lithography systems manufacturer ASML (Veldhoven, The Netherlands) and lithography light-source manufacturer Cymer (San Diego, CA) announced the shipment of the world's first fully integrated laser-produced plasma (LPP) extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography source to ASML. The companies say that EUV will support Moore's Law—the trend toward more powerful, energy-efficient yet affordable chips—for at least another ten years (see "Multilayer collector mirrors enable next-generation EUV lithography").
Cymer's EUV source, the first of a multi-unit purchase agreement between the two companies, is currently being installed at ASML's Veldhoven headquarters where it will support integration and testing of next-generation EUV lithography scanners. ASML has received orders for five EUV lithographic systems from memory and logic customers on three continents, with deliveries starting in 2010.
Together with this shipment, Cymer announces achieving a record milestone of 75 W of EUV lithography exposure power (full die exposure) and expects to scale to 100 W within the current quarter, enabling scanner throughput of 60 silicon wafers (300 mm/12 inch) per hour which is required for volume manufacturing with ASML's EUV technology. First shipments of production-capable EUV scanners from ASML are planned a year from now. The source concept will be capable of scaling over time to performance levels consistent with exposing more than 100 wafers per hour when fully integrated into ASML scanners.
EUV is a new lithographic method using a 15 times shorter wavelength than current lithography systems, enabling semiconductor scaling to resolutions of 10 nm and smaller (see "Extreme-UV lithography struggles to shrink chip features"). Bob Akins, CEO of Cymer, said, "We are pleased to be partnering with ASML in the advancement of EUV lithography, which will offer high-resolution, high-throughput, manufacturing capability for the production of advanced ICs with critical dimensions below 22 nm, enabling the continuation of Moore's Law for multiple chip generations to come."
An LPP EUV lithography source, which produces light with 13.5 nm wavelength (invisible to the human eye), represents a significant technology paradigm shift from today's Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) lithography excimer laser sources. In an LPP EUV source, microscopic droplets of molten tin are fired through a vacuum chamber and individually tracked and vaporized by a pulsed high power infrared laser—as frequently as 50,000 times per second—creating a high-temperature tin plasma point source which radiates 13.5 nm wavelength light. A large EUV mirror collects and directs this light into the scanner where it is patterned by a photomask and projected using a complex set of image reduction mirrors onto a light-sensitive silicon wafer, transferring the pattern onto the wafer.