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Posted: February 25, 2008

Molecular Imprints Drives Nanoimprint Lithography Closer to Semiconductor Production

(Nanowerk News) Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII) today introduced the latest addition to its family of imprint lithography tools for semiconductor applications—the Imprio® 300. Incorporating improvements in automation, tool throughput and overlay performance, the Imprio 300 represents the industry’s highest resolution and lowest cost-of-ownership (CoO) patterning solution for IC prototyping and process development at the 32nm node and beyond.
“The Imprio 300 system is an important step forward in our ongoing strategy to provide a comprehensive manufacturing solution to meet the semiconductor industry’s critical patterning needs at the 32nm node and beyond,” stated Mark Melliar-Smith, CEO of MII. “We are seeing growing momentum for the adoption of our innovative technology due to its combination of resolution extendibility, pattern flexibility and process simplicity, all at a compelling cost of ownership. Leading memory manufacturers and industry consortia are now leveraging our nanoimprint lithography technology for their sub-32nm-node development efforts.”
Efforts at using shorter wavelength lithography solutions to shrink IC feature sizes, such as extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, have met with continuing delays due to numerous technical hurdles—forcing the industry to extend optical lithography using a number of demanding, stop-gap solutions. This has resulted in extraordinarily challenging chip designs and photomask layouts, as well as complex multiple-patterning processes, all of which increase cost and cycle time, and can lead to lower device yields. MII’s Imprio 300 system, leveraging S-FIL® (Step and Flash Imprint Lithography) technology, offers sub-10nm resolution patterning in a single exposure using a simplified design and process. As a result, the system provides a highly extendible, low CoO patterning solution for multiple design generations. The ability of the Imprio 300 to create dense, high-resolution structures in two dimensions makes it especially well suited for memory applications, where density is paramount.
Compared to MII’s previous-generation Imprio 250 system, throughput on the Imprio 300 has been increased by 250 percent—further reducing the CoO of imprint lithography to levels consistent with 193-nm immersion, and less than EUV lithography. Overlay performance has been improved with the ability to provide sub-10nm overlay in test devices. Even in situations where an Imprio 300 would be used with existing 193-nm scanners, overlay performance can be improved by at least 30 percent to sub-35nm (mean+3 sigma). In addition to addressing the requirements for advanced IC prototyping, these performance levels validate MII’s continued progress along the imprint lithography roadmap toward meeting advanced IC production requirements. Built upon the Imprio 250 architecture, the Imprio 300 leverages this reliable platform, as well as its proven service and support infrastructure. Automation enhancements have also been added to the Imprio 300 that improve precision, ease of use and operator efficiency.
MII’s nanoimprint technology is built on the semiconductor industry’s existing optical lithography infrastructure, using commercially available photomasks, exposure sources and resists. As a result, MII’s systems—such as the Imprio 300—are a drop-in technology suitable for mix-and-match strategies, where their resolution and cost advantages can be deployed on specific critical layers. MII’s nanoimprint technology offers the promise of extending the optical lithography infrastructure to 10nm and beyond. In addition, it is the only imprint lithography technology capable of meeting the overlay requirements of the semiconductor industry. Shipments of the Imprio 300 are expected to begin midway through 2008.
About Molecular Imprints, Inc.
Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII) is the technology and market leader of high-resolution imprint systems for nano patterning. The company has commercialized proprietary imprint lithography technologies (S-FIL® and Drop-on- Demand™) and demonstrated sub-10-nanometer resolution patterning capability. Molecular Imprints provides enabling lithography systems and technology for manufacturing applications in the areas of semiconductors, nanodevices, solid state lighting, micro optical components, and magnetic and solid state data storage applications. For more information, visit www.molecularimprints.com
Source: Molecular Imprints, Inc.
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