April 10, 2002 – Tokyo, Japan – Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., and Seiko Epson Corp. will participate in a joint stepper development project led by Sony Corp. and Tokyo Seimitsu Co., sources at the companies said.
Project members, including NEC Corp., Rohm Co., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Sharp Corp., and most Japanese semiconductor manufacturers, will total 24, reported the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The Sony-Tokyo Seimitsu group is currently developing the next-generation stepper. The stepper will use a beam of electrons to draw finer circuit lines. The members aim to commercialize equipment suitable for making a wide variety of system LSI chips with a small-lot next year.
Hitachi and Mitsubishi have already agreed to integrate their system LSI operations by next spring. They plan to introduce the new steppers into their joint production lines as soon as possible.