(Nanowerk News) SEMATECH announced today that Intel, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and TSMC have joined SEMATECH's EMI Partnership to develop critical metrology tools for reviewing defects in advanced masks needed for extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL). In collaboration with SEMATECH, these leading semiconductor companies are pursuing an ambitious metrology program to enable defect-free EUVL masks for high-volume manufacturing.
To fill an industry need considered too costly for individual companies to develop independently, SEMATECH launched EMI in 2010 to address key infrastructure gaps for EUV in the area of mask metrology, by funding development of critical metrology tools. EMI is administered by SEMATECH's Lithography Program, based at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany.
To initiate EMI's first major project, SEMATECH and Carl Zeiss have signed a collaboration agreement for the development and manufacturing of the industry's first-ever actinic aerial image metrology (AIMS™) EUV system targeted for EUVL volume production. The AIMS™ EUV platform represents a critical tool for the development and manufacturing of defect-free EUVL masks supporting the 22 nm half-pitch (HP) technology node requirements with extendibility to the 16 nm HP node. A first production-worthy version of the platform is scheduled for mid of 2014.
"SEMATECH's EMI partnership is establishing a new paradigm for leading-edge equipment development by linking top device and equipment manufacturers," said Dan Armbrust, president and CEO of SEMATECH. "These new partners represent a significant achievement for the EMI initiative and illustrate our continuing commitment to develop and deliver the infrastructure required for this critical next-generation technology."
"The AIMS™ system is the largest semiconductor photomask review tool development ever undertaken and represents another significant step toward readiness for commercialization of EUV for high-volume-manufacturing," said John Warlaumont, vice president of Advanced Technologies, SEMATECH. "Carl Zeiss is a valued partner of SEMATECH, given their leadership in providing state-of-the-art tool components and system solutions that are manufacturing friendly. We are very pleased to partner with Carl Zeiss on driving the development of a high-resolution EUV defect review tool that will collectively support the needs of the semiconductor industry and EUV stakeholders."
"The development of an actinic aerial image metrology system, in collaboration with SEMATECH, enables an important piece of the infrastructure to enable defect free masks, and we are committed to an aggressive time schedule for the development and commercialisation," said Dr. Oliver Kienzle, Managing Director of Carl Zeiss SMT's Semiconductor Metrology Systems Division (SMS). "The AIMS™ EUV technology represents an important part of our company's mission to enable the lithography roadmap by closing a critical gap in the infrastructure and to support the growing industry momentum for EUV lithography," added Winfried Kaiser, Carl Zeiss Fellow and Senior Vice President Product Strategy of Carl Zeiss SMT. Wolfgang Harnisch, responsible for New Business Development at Carl Zeiss SMS and leading the C&F study for this project, concluded: "AIMS™ EUV is the consistent next step in the AIMS™ technology evolution along the litho roadmap. We were working towards this aim for a long time and are now very pleased about the commitment of four key semiconductor manufacturers."
SEMATECH's EMI Partnership will facilitate consensus building among the EMI partners, providing crucial data, insightful analysis, and a discussion forum for reaching conclusive agreements. EMI is open to mask and chip-makers, mask blank suppliers, other consortia, and regional governments.
About Carl Zeiss SMT
Carl Zeiss SMT is the largest unit of the Semiconductor Technology business group within the Carl Zeiss Group. The Semiconductor Technology Group also includes Carl Zeiss NTS, Carl Zeiss SMS and Carl Zeiss Laser Optics and their global subsidiaries. With its globally leading know-how in light, electron and ion-optical technologies, the business group offers its customers in industry, academia and research institutes a broad portfolio of outstanding products and application solutions for semiconductor technology, nanotechnology, materials research and life sciences. As the innovation leader in the field of lithography optics and optical and particle-beam based inspection, analysis and measuring systems, the business group opens up pioneering, new approaches and methods for production, quality monitoring and R&D to its customers. Together with subsidiaries in Germany, the UK, France, the USA, Israel and Singapore, the business group has over 2,500 employees. In fiscal year 2009/10 it generated record sales revenues of around 1.2 billion euros. For more information, please go to: www.zeiss.com/smt
About Carl Zeiss SMS
The Semiconductor Metrology Systems (SMS) division is part of the Semiconductor Technology Group (Carl Zeiss SMT) of Carl Zeiss. As a leading global supplier of both metrology and manufacturing equipment Carl Zeiss SMS focuses on a key component in semiconductor manufacturing, the photomask. Core expertise in light and electron optics, complemented by a revolutionary femto-second laser technology form the foundation of a product portfolio comprising in-die metrology, actinic qualification, repair and tuning of photomasks. The division is headquartered in Jena and has two further sites in Rossdorf/Germany and Karmiel/Israel. Approximately 200 people work for SMS. Further information: http://www.zeiss.com/sms.
About EMI Partnership
Established in February 2010, the EUVL Mask Infrastructure (EMI) Partnership was launched to develop critical metrology tools, considered too costly for individual companies to develop independently. EMI addresses the metrology gap by funding the development of three metrology tools for detecting and assessing defects in advanced masks needed for extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL).
For over 20 years, SEMATECH® (www.sematech.org), the international consortium of leading semiconductor manufacturers, has set global direction, enabled flexible collaboration, and bridged strategic R&D to manufacturing. Today, we continue accelerating the next technology revolution with our nanoelectronics and emerging technology partners.