June 21, 2011 – KLA-Tencor has joined SEMATECH’s lithography defect reduction program, housed at the U. of Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), to collaborate on several areas of EUV lithography.
Areas of work are expected to include: defect source identification and elimination using leading-edge metrology; printability; and characterization methods to advance mask metrology infrastructure and metrology source development. Also addressed will be overall EUV manufacturability and extendibility.
EUV is believed to be the replacement-in-waiting for optical lithography — and it’s been that way for a couple of technology nodes now, as R&D keeps getting the kinks worked out and optical keeps getting extended (with things like immersion and multipatterning). Part of the problem with EUV is source power, but another problem is that the ability to identify and manage defects is "massively behind," as Rice recently said at a SEMI meeting in NY.
"KLA Tencor is embarking on an ambitious program to create the next generation of patterned mask inspection using an actinic (i.e. EUV) wavelength of light," said SEMATECH lithography director Bryan Rice, in an additional comment to Solid State Technology. "Since such an effort is necessarily complex, SEMATECH and KLA-Tencor will be partnering to investigate key aspects of the underlying technology to insure they are ready when needed."
Execs from KLA-Tencor, SEMATECH, and CNSE all lauded the combination of KLAC’s litho inspection tools and measurement know-how with SEMATECH’s industrywide collaboration and EUV R&D background. "We are excited to partner with SEMATECH to develop new metrology capabilities that address the fundamental defect detection and reduction processes that are critical for EUV infrastructure," noted Rick Wallace, KLA-Tencor’s president and CEO, in a statement.