Asuka project to select tools this year

It looks like suppliers already working with Selete will have the advantage in getting their tools into a fab now being planned for Japan’s new research consortium’s fab. The Asuka project researchers plan to start selecting tools this year to install in the government’s new 300mm research fab in Tsukuba the first half of 2002.

The line will be used to develop EUV, EPL and mask technology, a transistor module with a gate stack using a new high-k material, and an interconnect module using copper and a new low-k dielectric.

Researchers want to collaborate with materials and equipment suppliers on developing process technology and improving tools for the 100nm and 70nm nodes.

Norio Suzuki of the Asuka Research Line Group told attendees at Selete’s annual progress update meeting in Tokyo last week that tools to be considered for the Asuka fab must:

* Comply with Global Joint Guidance and related SEMI standards

* Be evaluated by Selete in advance

* Have FOUP/Load port interoperability

* Meet Selete on-line specifications

* Meet Selete safety specifications

The Asuka project is sponsored by JEITA and run by Selete. Companies participating in the consortium as of May 1 are Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushia, Mitsubishi, NEC, Oki, Rohm, Samsung, Sanyo, Seiko-Epson, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba, though organizers say more may still join.

In other news from Selete’s annual presentation, its Manufacturing Technology Research Division this year plans to step up development of equipment and materials for the 130nm node, and develop a production control CIM package that will then be transferred to the Asuka project. Tetsuro Hanawa of the photolithography and etching group reported that scanners and etch tools are making good progress towards performance targets, but problems remain with the etch resistance of polyacrylate ArF resists. Selete has so far started evaluation of five of the eight planned scanners and lithography track tools, and two of the eight planned etching tools.

Over on the Advanced Technology Research Division side, Nobuyuki Yoshioka reported that the 130mn mask program has its dry etching technology down to the target critical dimension conformity of 9nm, its DUV inspection technology sensitive down to the target 100nm, and its FIB defect repair system working with accuracy of 25nm. The 130nm program wrapped up in March, and researchers are now starting work on 100-70nm masks.

Paula Doe, SST Contributing Editor

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