Manufacturing Bits: July 15

Multi-beam hits milestone; new CMP R&D center; 450mm wafers.

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Multi-beam hits milestone
Mapper Lithography has reached a major milestone in its ongoing push to bring multi-beam, direct-write lithography into the mainstream.

The Dutch-based company recently installed its initial pre-production tool at CEA-Leti, a French-based R&D organization. The tool, dubbed Matrix 1.1, is a multi-beam, e-beam system for direct-write applications.

During the recent Semicon West trade show, CEA-Leti disclosed that that it has achieved the first wafer exposures with the Matrix 1.1 tool. Initially, the system achieved 42nm half-pitch lines and spaces. The current Matrix 1.1 consists of 1,300 individual beams, but only 50% of those beams were operating during the first exposures.

The technology from Mapper still has a long way to go before it can process wafers in a production fab setting. But the first exposures at CEA-Leti represent a milestone for multi-beam in direct-write applications.

“This is a starting point,” said Laurent Pain, lithography lab manager at CEA-Leti. “The Mapper tool was able to do a direct beam to the wafer. We also achieved the first exposures. This is just a kick off. We should be able to expose more and more wafers as time goes on.”

The current Matrix 1.1 can only pattern lines and spaces. It has yet to demonstrate the overlay and throughput requirements for real production. “To do a demonstration, we don’t need 1,300 beams. Even 50% is enough to write and show demonstration capability,” Pain said.

Still, Mapper and CEA-Leti hope to boost the capabilities of the tool. By year’s end, the entities hope to have 1,300 beams operating within the Matrix 1.1. “To go to 1,300 beams, you need a good source, blanker and projection lens,” he said.

The blanker is one of the key components for the tool. It is an active MEMS component to help boost the beam count for the Matrix tool. In a separate event, Mapper and its Russian investor, RUSNANO, last week opened a manufacturing plant to build the MEMS component. A plant is located at the Moscow Technopolis in Russia.

The new plant in Moscow is built on an area of two thousand square meters, half of which consists of cleanrooms meeting ISO 6 criteria. The plant uses equipment from ASML, SPTS, Lam Research and Trymax.

Mapper hopes to produce three types of electronic optics at the Moscow plant. This includes the spacers, MEMS components and control electrodes. The MEMS components are slated for production by year’s end. Production of the most complex elements, containing electronics for control electrodes, is scheduled to begin by the end of 2015, according to the companies.

New CMP R&D center
Sematechand the newly merged Suny College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE)/Suny Institute of Technology (SUNYIT) jointly announced the creation of the Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) Center.

Based at the Albany Nanotech Complex in New York, the center aims to accelerate the development of next-generation CMP technology. It also hopes to improve the yield and cost-of-ownership of CMP processes.

“The CMP Center is an important part of our strategy to provide our members with the critical capabilities needed to accelerate process maturity for end users,” said Edward Barth, director of strategic growth initiatives at Sematech. “In addition to Sematech’s network of consortium members, the newly merged CNSE/SUNYIT’s leadership in providing state-of-the-art process and metrology toolsets will enable the development of new materials and CMP processes in further scaling of IC devices.”

450mm wafers
In addition, CNSE/SUNYIT, the Global 450mm Consortium (G450C) and Nikon recently demonstrated the world’s first patterned 450mm wafers.

Last year, the entities announced a $350 million partnership to develop next-generation 450mm tools, based on 193nm immersion lithography. The tool, which is being developed by Nikon, did the actual 450mm patterning.

“Our 450mm program is on track with the commitments made to our partners. 450mm patterning has already begun. Our 450mm immersion scanner will ship to Albany on time in April 2015,” said Hamid Zarringhalam, executive vice president of Nikon.

Nikon’s 193nm immersion scanner will join existing 450mm tools at the Albany NanoTech Complex in April of 2015 in accordance with the project timeline. This critical milestone will enable G450C founding members and CNSE to perform 10nm and below full wafer lithography.

To date, more than $350 million in 450mm wafer tools has been installed at the Albany NanoTech Complex. With the arrival of the Nikon immersion lithography tool, the investment will swell to over $700 million.