Photomask Technology speaker says EUV is nearly production-ready

Highlights at the recent SPIE Photomask Technology 2014 conference included a confident announcement from ASML about current EUV source capabilities, an insightful industry-expert panel discussion on mask-making complexities, and fresh energy from the co-located SPIE Scanning Microscopies conference. The event ran 16-18 September at the Monterey Conference Center and Monterey Marriott, and was sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

In an attention-grabbing announcement, keynote speaker Martin van den Brink, President and CTO of ASML, said that extreme ultraviolet (EUV) source technology is reaching performance levels that enable introduction into production lines in select cases at the 10nm node, and that progress is such that it should soon be ready for full-scale introduction at the 7nm node.

The announcement was important because significant customers have recently criticized ASML for being late on development of EUV technology, which is intended to enable the next generation of computer-chip manufacturing, and have been experimenting with potential alternatives.
Van den Brink’s talk detailed ASML’s steady and substantial progress over the past several months improving the technology for eventual scale-up in semiconductor manufacturing.

The challenge, he said, is implementing affordable scaling to create lower cost and improved performance. That can be achieved through holistic lithography immersion driving productivity and yield with multiple patterning, and with EUV technology driving productivity and improving operational cost to enable 2D patterning and simpler processing, van den Brink said.

During the meeting, Jim Wiley, EUV Infrastructure Executive Strategist at ASML, was presented with the 2014 Photomask Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of contributions to the industry, particularly in the area of photomask defect characterization, printability, and publication. He has been a supporting member of the Bay Area Chrome User Society (BACUS) since its founding and has served in many leadership roles.

Dan Meisburger of Tec-Start Consulting was awarded the 2014 BACUS Prize in recognition of his work and influence in the development of the high-speed electron beam mask inspection system.

Linda He Yi of the Nanoelectronics Lab in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University was awarded the 2014 BACUS Scholarship. Working in applications of block copolymer directed self-assembly, she has more than 15 publications and collaborations with ASML, GlobalFoundries, and Applied Materials.

A two-day exhibition included top industry suppliers showing products and systems using technology such as e-beam lithography, EUV, direct laser writing, resists, optical/laser microlithography, and electronic hardware and software.

Photomask Technology included more than 70 presentations on mask making, EUV, 9-inch glass, emerging mask technologies, mask business, and related topics. Paul Ackmann (GlobalFoundries) was symposium chair, and Naoya Hayashi (Dai Nippon Printing) was symposium cochair.

Scanning Microscopies brought approximately 50 more presentations to the conference, in areas such as nanomaterials, optical and particle beam, scanned probe, and imaging. Symposium chairs were Michael Postek and Dale Newbury (National Institute of Standards and Technology), Frank Platek (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), and Tim Maugel (University of Maryland, College Park).

Conference proceedings are being published online in the SPIE Digital Library as manuscripts are approved, with CD and print publication to follow when all manuscripts are published.

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