EUV applications shed new light on cleanrooms


By Hank Hogan

In October, Sematech (Austin, TX) hosted a symposium in Lake Tahoe, CA that could literally shine a new light on semiconductor cleanrooms. The subject of the meeting was the state of affairs in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which gets its name from the use of a 13-nm wavelength source. In contrast, today’s lithography tools use a 193-nm source.

It’s a big change that brings a big payoff–and a few more challenges for cleanrooms and contamination control. The exact impact is unclear because the new sources will be deployed in the most advanced node. EUV lithography is expected to make its debut at the 22-nm half-pitch node, half the size of today’s state of the art. That feature size has its own implications.

“Everything in the industry is driven by the linewidth,” points out Jitze Stienstra, director of product marketing for semiconductor material-handling company Entegris (San Diego, CA office). He notes, though, that not all processes move at the same pace when it comes to contamination control needs. “Litho typically leads the pack in setting purity requirements.”

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