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Powerlase, University of Central Florida to develop EUV sources

17 Oct 2006

Collaboration aims to produce next generation of quality laser-produced plasma - for extreme UV sources.

Powerlase, the UK-based manufacturer of the "world's most powerful" nanosecond Q-switched, diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers, has formed a partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the field of extreme ultraviolet lithography to further develop a high-power laser-produced plasma EUV source.

EUV lithography is the most promising technology for producing semiconductors of 32 nmhp and below. The EUV source that the partners are working on is based on the laser-produced plasma approach (LPP). They are aiming to demonstrate to the EUV community the potential of the collaboration for producing a laser-produced plasma EUV source with a high conversion efficiency .

Powerlase has already provided UCF with its kilo-class Starlase laser to irradiate the university's tin-doped micro-droplet laser-plasma source. This source has already demonstrated a high conversion efficiency with minimum contamination. Combining a high EUV conversion efficiency with the elimination of neutral and charged particles is the aim of this collaborative work.

"We are excited to collaborate with experts in the field of EUV sources," said Samir Ellwi, VP strategic innovations at Powerlase. "The Starlase laser is an ideal driver for the laser-produced plasma EUV source and we're proving that a scalable laser-produced plasma source is the way to satisfy the stepper manufacturer requirements."

Ultimately, the steppers will be used in semiconductor chip fabrication. Currently two technologies are being considered as EUV sources - laser-produced plasmas and discharge-produced plasmas. The Starlase lasers have been chosen because they produce the power and high-repetition lasers required for "best in class" results.

The inventor of the micro-droplet laser-plasma EUV source, Martin Richardson, Trustee Chair and Northrop-Grumman Professor of X-ray Photonics at UCF, said, "Powerlase's investment in this collaboration shows the advantages of solid-state laser driven laser plasma sources. We have already demonstrated EUV powers approaching 10 W, and expect further gains soon."

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