Toppan, IBM tie off 32nm photomask work, eye 22nm

June 19, 2008 – Toppan Printing and IBM have forged a new development agreement covering the final phase of 32nm photomask process development, and all phases of 22nm photomask process development. Work will start this month at IBM’s photomask facility in Essex Junction, VT.

The two firms have been collaborating on photomask development since mid-2005 targeting the 45nm node; an extension to 32nm work was finalized in 2007.

As part of the efforts, Toppan and IBM will work to integrate Toppan’s just-debuted 32nm photomask process into the one that they are jointly developing, to potentially optimize performance.

While many different lithography options are still being evaluated for the 22nm process technology node (EUV, perhaps some extension of high-index immersion, imprint, EBDW, etc.), Toppan and IBM say their work will pursue a 22nm photomask process based on ArF immersion lithography, which they call “mainstream” for 32nm photomasks.

“This newest agreement will help ensure we can continue to deliver innovative chip applications for IBM systems and our OEM semiconductor clients,” said Michael Cadigan, GM of IBM’s semiconductor solutions unit, in a statement. “This collaborative effort builds upon our joint progress at 45nm and 32nm and sets us on a path to deliver the photomasks needed for next-generation chip manufacturing production.”

“We believe this joint initiative will place IBM and Toppan Printing at the forefront of advanced photomask technology development, and thus will enable us to contribute to the technological innovation in the world’s semiconductor industry,” added Naoki Adachi, president of Toppan Printing, adding that he thinks the deal will “help Toppan Printing become the world’s premier photomask manufacturer at 22nm.”

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