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Intel claims lithography milestones

10 Aug 2004

EUV lithography gets a boost as Intel lays its foundations for high volume manufacturing in 2009.

Intel says that it has achieved two milestones in its development of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, an emerging technology for making faster, more powerful computer chips.

The US integrated circuit (IC) specialist has just installed the world's first commercial EUV lithography tool and established an EUV mask pilot line. Intel says that the developments mark the move of the technology out of R&D phase and into a manufacturing environment. It plans to use the EUV process for high volume manufacturing in 2009.

"This technology will help us continue to deliver the benefits of Moore's Law into the next decade," said Ken David, director of components research for Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group. "We are making process towards implementing EUV lithography technology in manufacturing with the 32 nm node in 2009."

The new micro exposure tool (MET) and mask production capability operate at a wavelength of 13.5 nm and enable Intel to print ICs with feature sizes as small as 30 nm. In contrast, the smallest features that Intel can print today using 193 nm lasers in its manufacturing facilities measure 50 nm.

When the EUV technology goes into production in a few years time, Intel plans to use it make features as small as 15 nm. It is now using the prototype tools to develop a suitable photoresist and optimise the EUV lithography process.

Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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