IMEC, Europe’s leading independent nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research institute, has started the installation of the world’s first extreme ultraviolet (EUV) Alpha Demo Tool (ADT), developed by ASML Holding NV (ASML), on August 16 at 7am CET. Since then, the installation of the industry’s first full field EUV system in IMEC’s 300mm clean room runs at full speed in close collaboration with ASML researchers.
The tool is a cornerstone within IMEC’s advanced lithography program which runs research on hyper-NA immersion on ASML’s XT 1700i, double-patterning immersion and EUV in parallel.
With more than 30 lithography program partners including nine of the world’s leading IC manufacturers or foundries – Infineon, Intel, Matsushita/Panasonic, Micron, Philips Semiconductor, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and TSMC – IMEC leads the world’s largest R&D effort on lithography targeting the (sub-)32nm node. The program also includes peripheral lithography equipment tool suppliers, resist and mask shops and software suppliers.
EUV is the most likely candidate technology for the 32nm half-pitch node. The last two years, IMEC together with his partner has already built up know-how on photoresist for EUV lithography which will now be exploited on the EUV ADT.
“We are excited that we’ve started the installation of the world’s first full field EUV system mid August. The EUV ADT delivery confirms ASML’s more than 20 year’s commitment to strongly collaborate with IMEC. Thanks to this long-term strategic partnership and IMEC’s worldwide network with industry, universities and research centers, we are convinced that we will be able to bring EUV available for production at the 32nm half pitch node,” said Luc Van den hove, Vice President Silicon Process and Device Technology at IMEC.
IMEC’s EUV program includes investigation into the following areas:
- Optical path stability and monitoring
- EUV lithography reticle handling (including cleaning) in a wafer fab and defect printability
- Assessment of line-edige roughess (LER) in EUV lithography and its relation to shot noise
- EUV lithography resist assessment and process optimization
- (Sub-)32nm node critical layer patterning
- Printable defects of EUV masks
IMEC’s EUV efforts demonstrate its commitment to offer very advanced research and solutions to its partners worldwide and as such maintaining its research leadership.
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.