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IMEC installing world's first 'extreme' UV process tool

30 Aug 2006

Will become a cornerstone for advanced lithography R&D projects including: sub-32 nm node critical layer patterning; optical path stabilisation and reticle handling.

IMEC, Leuven, Belgium, Europe's leading independent nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research institute, has commenced the installation of the world's first extreme ultraviolet Alpha Demo Tool, developed by ASML Holdings.

IMEC reported this week that the installation of the industry's first full field EUV system in its 300 mm clean room is progressing "at full speed" in close collaboration with researchers from ASML.

The tool will be a cornerstone in IMEC's advanced lithography program which runs research on hyper-NA immersion on ASML's XT 1700i, double-patterning immersion and EUV in parallel.

With more than 30 lithography program partners including nine of the world's leading IC manufacturers or foundries - Infineon, Intel, Matsushita/Panasonic, Micron, Philips Semiconductor, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and TSMC - IMEC leads the world's largest R&D effort on lithography targeting the (sub-)32 nm node.

EUV is the most likely candidate technology for the 32 nm half-pitch node. The last two years, IMEC together with his partner has already built up know-how on photoresist for EUV lithography which will now be exploited on the EUV ADT.

"We are excited that we've started the installation of the world's first full field EUV system mid August. The EUV ADT delivery confirms ASML's more than 20 year's commitment to strongly collaborate with IMEC," said Luc Van den Hove, VP Silicon Process and Device Technology at IMEC.

"With this long-term strategic partnership and our worldwide network with industry, universities and research centers, we will be able to make EUV available for production at the 32 nm half pitch node."

IMEC's EUV program includes investigation into the following areas:

• Optical path stability and monitoring;

• EUV lithography reticle handling and cleaning in a wafer fab and defect printability;

• Assessment of line-edge roughess in EUV lithography and its relation to shot noise;

• EUV lithography resist assessment and process optimization;

• (sub-)32 nm node critical layer patterning;

• Printable defects of EUV masks.

IMEC says its EUV efforts demonstrate its commitment to offer advanced research and solutions to its partners worldwide and as such maintaining its research leadership.

About IMEC

IMEC is an independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. The institute's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry.

Its balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems.

As an expansion of its wireless autonomous microsystems research, IMEC has created a legal entity in the Netherlands. Stichting IMEC Nederland runs activities at the Holst Centre, an independent R&D institute that develops generic technologies and technology platforms for autonomous wireless transducer solutions and systems-in-foil.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1450 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2005, its revenue was EUR 197 million.

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