Measuring EUV lithography systems for 3nm silicon

October 22, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Belgian researcher centre imec has teamed up with ASML in Holland to evaluate the latest metrology technology for building silicon chips at 3nm and beyond.

The next-generation extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment with a high numerical aperture (NA) of 0.55, up from 0.33 for today's 7nm systems, will enable printing of even smaller nanoscale devices with features of 3nm and smaller. The two are setting up a joint high-NA EUV research lab with ASML's YieldStar optical metrology and ASML-HMI Multi-electron beam metrology equipment, allowing more accurate and faster evaluation of nanoscale structures. This lab will also host a new high-NA EUV system, EXE:5000, that has an NA of 0.55 instead of 0.33.

“The new EUV scanners and ASML metrology equipment will allow our industry partners to perform collaborative research on the most advanced and industry relevant lithography and metrology equipment," said Luc Van den hove, President and CEO of imec.

In 2014 the two set up the joint Advanced  Patterning Centre which will now be upgraded with the latest high-volume production EUV scanner, the NXE:3400B, to examine defects, reliability and yield using an NA of 0.33. This scanner has a 250W light source and a throughput of over 125 wafers per hour as well as the latest alignment and leveling sensors.

"Access to the most advanced semiconductor lithography tools is vital for exploration and determining the paths to future generations of semiconductor devices and applications. Imec’s researchers and customers can be sure of the most up to date holistic lithography technology for many years to come," said Martin van den Brink, President & Chief Technology Officer at ASML.

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