July 7, 2004 – Fresh from shuttering its 157nm immersion lithography efforts, International SEMATECH has formed a 193nm Immersion Technology Center (iTC) to support development of the technology, and an initial project to focus on development of the world’s first ultrahigh-NA (NA=1.3) 193nm wavelength immersion lithography tool.
The iTC is part of a newly-established Advanced Materials Research Center, a component of the Texas Technology Initiative, which combines public and private funding and research capabilities. The iTC program will start off with a budget of $15 million, with researchers working on 2-4 year programs to develop photoresists, fluids, and other components of high-NA 193nm immersion technology.
Also, International SEMATECH and Exitech, Oxford, England, have agreed to develop the world’s first ultra high numerical aperture (NA = 1.3) 193nm wavelength immersion lithography tool.
This microexposure tool, the Exitech MS-193i, will help speed the development of critical infrastructure for immersion lithography at SEMATECH’s Immersion Technology Center in Austin, TX.
Due to be installed at SEMATECH during 3Q05, the tool incorporates a 1.3 NA catadioptric, 0.4mm field, water immersion imaging objective lens developed by Corning Tropel (Fairport, NY). With a 4kHz, linearly polarized, 193nm natural bandwidth ArF laser source from Lambda Physik (Gottingen, Germany), the tool is expected to image minimum feature sizes of 70nm and 45nm, respectively using binary and phase shifting masks.
Beginning in 2002, SEMATECH began to organize and lead industry efforts to identify and resolve the critical issues in order to realize the potential of immersion lithography. Since then, the industry’s interest in 193nm immersion lithography has grown rapidly.