ALBANY, USA & TOKYO, JAPAN: SEMATECH, a global consortium of the world’s leading chip manufacturers, has entered into a partnership to accelerate commercialization of advanced mask lithography technology with Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd (DNP), a leading producer of semiconductor photomasks.
SEMATECH and DNP will collaborate at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany on methods for improving mask cleaning processes to reduce overall mask cost of ownership (CoO) and accelerate commercial manufacturing readiness.
Under the terms of the agreement, a team of mask cleaning experts from DNP will work with experts from SEMATECH’s Mask Clean program at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex to improve the cleaning yield on extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) patterned, non-patterned substrates and nanoimprint lithography (NIL) templates.
Specifically, the collaborative work will focus on further optimizing the cleaning process to reduce the influence of the cleaning cycle on the critical dimension (CD) of the features on the mask substrates as well as NIL templates, while maintaining the particle removal capability.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with SEMATECH and its leading-edge industry partners on critical mask cleaning technology for next generation lithography processes,” said Mr. Naoya Hayashi, research fellow at DNP.
“Our partnership will allow DNP to gain knowledge and expertise as we leverage SEMATECH’s leadership position within the IC industry, enabling us to lead the way in supporting the industry’s ever-growing lithography mask demands.”
Preservation of mask cleanliness is essential to avoid the risk of repeated printing of defects. Developing mask cleaning processes capable of removing nanoscale sized particles adhered to the mask surface without damaging the mask is critical to meet high volume manufacturing requirements, as is producing an improved smooth/clean process to dramatically reduce substrate particles.
Making defect-free mask blanks in the quantities required for high volume manufacturing is a key technical challenge that must be solved to prepare EUV lithography for cost-effective insertion at the 22 nm half-pitch generation and below.
In a co-operative approach to this challenge, SEMATECH’s Mask Clean program provides access to state-of-the-art mask and lithography tools and materials as well as immediate feedback and assistance from SEMATECH engineers and member company assignees.
“This partnership with DNP is a key component of our overall strategy to minimize this technology’s time to manufacturing readiness,” said John Warlaumont, vice president of advanced technologies at SEMATECH.
“The industry must have access to high quality masks in order to stay on its timeline for EUV lithography introduction, and especially with DNP’s expertise and new level of engagement, this activity is positioned to ensure the availability of low-cost masks.”
“We are pleased to welcome DNP as the newest global corporate partner at the UAlbany NanoCollege to be attracted by the SEMATECH-CNSE partnership,” said Richard Brilla, vice president for strategy, alliances and consortia at CNSE.
“The addition of DNP will provide critical capabilities to further prepare EUV lithography for commercial manufacturing, serving the needs of our industrial partners and enhancing New York’s global leadership in nanotechnology education, innovation and economic development.”