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Lithography takes a leap forward

20 Jun 2002

Corning teams up with a UK-based systems integrator and a Japanese research group to develop essential tools for next-generation lithography.

Corning Tropel, a subsidiary of Corning, claims to have manufactured a lithographic objective lens with a record-breaking resolution. With a numerical aperture (NA) of 0.85 and the ability to transmit short-wavelength ultraviolet light, the lens is said to resolve features smaller than 70 nm, meeting the requirements for next-generation lithography.

"The linewidths on today's most advanced microchips are 130 nm,"said Corning Tropel's president and chief executive officer John Bruning. "This lens is capable of resolving features nearly half that size."

The UK-based laser microprocessing specialist Exitech has successfully integrated the 15x reduction stepper lens into its 157 nm lithography system, the MS-157 micro-stepper.

Malcolm Gower, technical director at Exitech, said: "This lens has the highest NA and shortest wavelength of operation of any objective lens used for high-resolution lithographic imaging. It will enable researchers to develop the technologies required for manufacturing the circuits on future generations of silicon chips."

Semiconductor Leading Edge Technologies (SELETE), a consortium of Japanese semiconductor manufacturers have already used the MS-157 tool to image features as small as 50 nm on silicon wafers.

Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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