September 05, 2006

ASML Delivers First Two EUV Tools, Nikon To Follow

By: by Semiconductor FabTech


Two major R&D facilities, CNSE's Albany NanoTech in New York State and IMEC of Belgium have received delivery of the first two first ‘full field' EUV lithography systems designed and built by ASML.

The delivery of the Alpha Demo Tool's (ADT) (Photo of IMEC's tool installation) marks a long anticipated milestone in the development and possible adoption of EUV technology for imaging semiconductor features in a volume production environment at or below the 32nm half pitch node.

The EUV tool shipped to CNSE's Albany NanoTech facility and operated under a $600 million, International Venture for Nanolithography ("INVENT") R&D program will initially support the needs of Advanced Micro Devices, IBM, Micron Technology and Qimonda with certain participation from Sony and Toshiba in further evaluating and developing EUV lithography.

IMEC's EUV project partners, include Infineon, Intel, Matsushita/Panasonic, Micron, Philips Semiconductor, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and TSMC and is part of a wider R&D lithography effort with more than 30 lithography program partners.

Nikon has also been busy readying two full field EUV systems, however plans were originally made to have a test system completed in 2006 that would be delivered to the Association of Super-Advanced Electronics Technologies (ASET), in Japan and another delivered to a single customer's lithography R&D facility.

The scheduled change is believed to be associated with further development work in particular associated with improvements to the optics coatings that would provide improved imaging performance and higher life-time cycles to allow more intense development work going forward. Plans are still on course for Nikon to ship its first two EUV tools by mid-2007.

ASML has also seen delays in the expected shipment dates though both companies have reiterated that the technology required for such tools is extremely complex and has pushed technological barriers with the inevitable delays understandable.

Canon has been working with the Japanese Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography Development Association (EUVA) program but has not disclosed revised tool plans since originally stating that a beta tool would be ready at the end of 2005.