July 8, 2005, Santa Clara, CA and Corning, NY--Intel Corporation and Corning Incorporated have entered into an agreement to develop ultra-low thermal expansion (ULE) glass photomask substrates required for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology. These substrates are needed to develop low-defect EUV photomasks to enable 32-nm node high-volume production using EUV lithography.
Intel's leading position in advanced semiconductor manufacturing will provide the expertise Corning requires to respond rapidly to industry requirements. The joint development program will help to enable chip production using EUV technology starting in 2009.
"Driving down EUV photomask defect levels is a critical issue for the commercialization of EUV technology. Corning and Intel plan to address the mask substrate contribution to this issue," said Janice Golda, Intel's director of lithography. "The development of higher-quality EUV masks, along with Intel's related efforts in light sources, lithography equipment and new photo resists, will help create the infrastructure needed to position EUV lithography as the key technology for the future."
Lithography tools are used in chipmaking to "print" patterns on a silicon wafer. Today, the industry uses lithography tools that use a 193-nm wavelength of light to "print" transistors as small as 50 nm. This is similar to a painter trying to draw very fine lines using a thick brush. EUV lithography technology will use light that is only a 13.5-nm wavelength of light, so it can provide chipmakers with a very "fine brush" to "draw" smaller transistors in the future.
EUV lithography has been identified by the International Roadmap of Semiconductor Technology as the leading technology solution for next�generation lithography (NGL) after the current 193 nm generation of lithography tools.