Numerical, IMEC address subwavelength challenges

San Jose, California–Numerical Technologies, Inc. and Belgian consortium IMEC, a leading European independent research center focused on the development and licensing of microelectronics, information, and communications technologies, have formed a partnership to address subwavelength challenges to expedite the manufacture of 0.13-micron and smaller ICs.

Under the terms of the partnership, Numerical will join the consortium and incorporate its proprietary phase-shifting technology in IMEC’s 193-nm development program. Numerical will work with IMEC’s member companies to develop new technologies and processes to enable the continued development and production of the smaller, cheaper, and more powerful ICs demanded by today’s increasingly electronics-dependent society.

As the semiconductor industry continues to produce ICs with ever-smaller design rules, it is faced with the challenge of producing devices with critical dimensions smaller than the wavelength of light used to print circuit patterns. Based on the pace of development set by the Semiconductor Industry Association’s (SIA) Technology Roadmap, device shrinks are expected to continue to outstrip the adoption of next-generation lithography technologies. As a result, it is expected that phase-shifting will remain a critical technology once the industry transitions to 193-nm lithography.

“Numerical’s technology will play a key role in our 193-nm development program, enabling us to further our innovation in subwavelength manufacturing and develop the new processes needed by our member companies,” says IMEC Vice President Dr. Luc Van den hove, head of its silicon process technology division.

Numerical will provide its phase-shifting and attendant technologies, as well as training and support services, to IMEC and its members for a period of 3 years.


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