April 29, 2005, Oyama, Japan--Gigaphoton, a light source manufacturer for the semiconductor industry, has begun volume production and shipment of a new argon fluoride (ArF) excimer laser, the GT40A (emission wavelength 193 nm; repetition rate 4 kHz). This new model has already been tested and qualified for integration with lithography tools at ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands).
The new laser will be mounted on ASML lithography systems that are scheduled for delivery to major global semiconductor manufacturers in mid-2005.
In today's advanced lithography process, with LSI circuit patterns becoming increasingly finer, ArF lithography has reached mainstream, while immersion lithography has become the most promising next-generation technology. A high level of throughput and stable spectrum performance are essential for an ArF laser to be used as a light source for immersion ArF lithography.
Gigaphoton developed the industry's first 4-kHz ArF excimer laser mounted with an injection-locking resonator for use as a mass-production lithography light source for 65-nm and below technology nodes. Based on tests performed at Gigaphoton's headquarters in Japan and at a major lithography tool manufacturer, the GT40A has demonstrated stabilized high performance, low-running costs, and unprecedented reliability and uptime--all of which are sufficient to meet the requirements associated with mass-production lithography processes.
Injection-locking technology injects a low-output laser beam (master)--which is emitted after being tuned to an extremely narrow spectral bandwidth--into a laser resonator (amplifier) that amplifies it with laser resonation. This technology allows simultaneous maintenance of a narrower spectral bandwidth and higher output, a combination that is difficult to achieve with conventional technologies. This ensures highly stable emission of a deep ultraviolet beam with output of 45 W and a spectral bandwidth of 0.2 pm for full-width half maximum (FWHM).
Gigaphoton has been supplying krypton fluoride (KrF) and ArF excimer laser light sources for lithography tools to ASML and other leading major lithography tool manufacturers since 2000. During that time, ASML and Gigaphoton have established a successful collaboration in development and product support, and both companies are confident that the introduction and operation of the GT40A will proceed smoothly.