SEMATECH takes on funding challenge for EUV mask infrastructure

by Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, Solid State Technology

June 29, 2009 – In a pre-SEMICON west technology briefing, SEMATECH’s director of lithography, Bryan Rice, gave a sobering assessment of the readiness of EUV mask infrastructure. Currently, there are no commercial suppliers committed to building solutions for high-volume manufacturing (HVM) mask blank inspection, mask defect inspection, and patterned inspection. He estimated the costs to fund each effort at >$50M for the first two, and >$100M for the last category. These HVM solutions will be needed by 2013.

SEMATECH is taking on the fundraising task for these HVM solutions by forming an international consortium to obtain funding from a variety of public and private sources: governments, suppliers, semiconductor manufacturers, and other research consortia. A workshop held at SEMICON West will discuss the funding problem. Additionally, SEMATECH has committed most of its lithography budget to mask infrastructure over the next four years.

The inspection tools available today are primarily aimed at 32nm, noted Rice, and SEMATECH has those tools available, but moving toward the 22nm hp the gaps in EUV inspection tools become apparent. To address the short-term need for a pilot line (by 2011), “SEMATECH is funding a supplier to build an optical substrate inspection (at-wavelength) tool,” said Rice. The same goes for an aerial image tool (at wavelength) for defect review, he noted. — D.V.

Mask infrastructure gaps. (Source: SEMATECH)


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