IMEC Shifts to Hyper-NA Immersion, Double-Patterning Immersion, EUV

IMEC, Europe’s leading independent nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research institute, extends its 193nm immersion lithography research program with double-patterning techniques to meet the stringent scaling roadmaps, especially of Flash. The program now runs hyper-NA immersion, double-patterning immersion and EUV in parallel.

Extreme UV will be needed to accommodate the pitch requirements for sub-32nm CMOS, but it still has a long way to go before it can be inserted into manufacturing. As such, 193nm immersion lithography needs to be extended down to 32nm CMOS and will consequently be pushed to its limits, including hyper-NA immersion. To meet the stringent scaling roadmaps, especially of Flash, extensive use of double-patterning techniques may also be required. IMEC now runs research programs on hyper-NA immersion, double-patterning immersion and EUV in parallel to deal with the challenges for the (sub)-32nm node.

Within the hyper-NA research program, IMEC focuses on alternative mask stacks, high-index liquids and resists, XT:1700i lens and illumination characterization and immersion baseline including resist, defectivity and scanner. IMEC will leverage on the numerous breakthrough results achieved over the past year in its 193nm immersion program: reduction of patterned defectivity, improvement of CD uniformity and overlay performance.

IMEC’s double patterning research will be strongly linked with its device programs on advanced CMOS for logic and also in its advanced-memory program. Double-patterning research topics include layout-split methodology and exploration of alternative patterning steps to improve double-patterning cost of ownership. Existing research in the Flash program are the study of new cell concepts (nitride concept), implementation of high-k materials, reliability and characterization. Several advanced logic and Flash cells will be used as demonstrators in IMEC’s program on (sub-)32nm lithography.

Research within IMEC’s EUV program includes resists and reticles development and assessment of the EUV alpha demo tool.

“With the three lithography programs running in parallel, we offer a unique platform to our partners to meet the stringent lithography challenges for the (sub)-32nm node,” said Luc Van den hove, Vice President Silicon Process and Device Technology at IMEC. “Leveraging on our expertise and strong partnerships, we are convinced that our programs, with ASML’s state-of-the-art tools as cornerstone, will enable our partners to keep up with the ITRS roadmap.”

About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC’s research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems.

As an expansion of its wireless autonomous microsystems research, IMEC has created a legal entity in the Netherlands. Stichting IMEC Nederland runs activities at the Holst Centre, an independent R&D institute that develops generic technologies and technology platforms for autonomous wireless transducer solutions and systems-in-foil.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1450 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2005, its revenue was EUR 197 million.