IMEC Program To Push 193nm Lithography To The Limit

Feb. 15, 2002
Although 193nm lithography will be introduced for volume manufacturing of the 100nm technology node, it has become clear that the technology can and must be pushed well beyond 100nm, using next-generation step-and-scan systems equipped with higher NA lenses

Although 193nm lithography will be introduced for volume manufacturing of the 100nm technology node, it has become clear that the technology can and must be pushed well beyond 100nm, using next-generation step-and-scan systems equipped with higher NA lenses.

In order to continue the development work required to meet this objective, IMEC has announced that it is extending its industrial affiliation program (IIAP) throughout 2002 and 2003, using ASML's PAS5500/1100 high NA 193nm step-and-scan system (maximum NA of 0.75), interfaced to a TEL Clean Track ACT8 advanced resist coat/development track. The system is currently under installation in IMEC's 8-inch pilot line and is expected to become operational during March 2002.

Work during the program extension aims to push 193nm lithography to k1 factors of 0.35-0.3 for the critical lithography levels. Using the 0.75 NA of the lens, resolutions of 90- to 75nm can be achieved. Special emphasis will be paid to the contact hole level, which has been ambitiously set by the ITRS roadmap and which is generally considered as the biggest hurdle for optical lithography.

As even higher NA lenses become available, the program will form the basis for further development of 193nm lithography. It will investigate high-NA effects in greater detail, in the quest for the more aggressive optical extension techniques required by manufacturing.

The program is a significant stepping-stone to 157nm lithography, which will require ultra-high NA lenses and aggressive optical extension techniques as well. The resist, lens and reticle quality for 157nm lithography are currently not yet mature enough to investigate these effects properly.

IMEC is inviting semiconductor manufacturers, material suppliers (resist, ARC), mask shops and peripheral lithography equipment suppliers to participate in the 193nm program. IMEC IAPs offer the advantages of reduced costs and early process knowledge.

IMEC had announced its IIAP on 193nm lithography in 1999. The program used the first ASML PAS5500/900 full-field step-and-scan system (maximum NA of 0.63), to accelerate the introduction of 193nm technology. This program has focused on the critical lithography levels of 130nm and 100nm CMOS technology and development of these technologies is continuing.

The IMEC Industrial Affiliation Programs (IIAP) IMEC's industrial affiliation program (IIAP) formula is recognized worldwide as one of the most successful partnership schemes in research and development. The collaborations are based on shared costs and risks and are built on sound intellectual property rules. Thirteen IIAPs in other research fields are already in progress.

IMEC was founded in 1984 and today is Europe's largest independent research center in the field of microelectronics, nanotechnology, enabling design methods and technologies for ICT systems. IMEC's activities concentrate on the design technology for integrated information and communication systems; silicon process technology; silicon technology and device integration; nanotechnology, microsystems, components and packaging; solar cells; and advanced training in microelectronics.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has a staff of more than 1200 people including over 350 industrial residents and guest researchers. IMEC has a 0.13µm 200mm pilot line and is ISO9001 certified. Its revenue of more than 120Meuro is derived from agreements and contracts with the Flemish government and companies, the EC, MEDEA+, the European Space Agency, equipment and material suppliers, and semiconductor and system-oriented companies worldwide.

News from IMEC is located at www.imec.be.

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