SAN FRANCISCO Lithography photomasks are likely to continue to rely on the current standard 4X magnification and 26-millimeter field size through the 32-nanometer node, according to a consensus of semiconductor equipment suppliers and manufactures at a recent Sematech-sponsored workshop.
According to an announcement issued by Sematech Thursday (Sept. 29), participants at the 2005 Mask Magnification/Field Size Workshop expressed confidence that mask suppliers would be ready for 32-nm node lithography by 2010.
Sematech said the workshop, held Sept. 12 in Bruges, Belgium in conjunction with the 2nd International Symposium on Immersion Lithography, included about 50 lithography professionals representing exposure tool companies, subsystem suppliers, Sematech members and other chip makers.
"The workshop allowed both tool companies and IC manufacturers to gain clarity on the challenges and opportunities involved in deciding whether a change in lithography magnification or field size would be needed for the 32-nm half-pitch [node]," said the workshop organizer, Michael Lucre, Sematech's associate director of lithography. "The consensus is that we can get there without any major changes in the current magnification ratio and field size for either 193-nm immersion or extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL)."
According to Lercel, tool suppliers asked Sematech to organize the meeting to assess the risks and rewards of changing various aspects of the lithography equation for the 32-nm node.
Sematech also conducted an informal survey at the workshop. Findings included:
More than 90 percent of respondents said they preferred to continue using 4X magnification and more than 75 percent preferred to remain at 26-mm fields.
Low support for proposals to move to 8X magnification and alternate fields of 22 mm and 13 mm.
Participants predicted that the industry will need large exposure fields of at least 22 mm on a side.
Most participates categorized field stitching as possible but not preferred, with more than half calling the practice "somewhat acceptable."
Two-thirds of the participants said they doubted that the industry could support two magnification ratios for critical levels at the same time.
Ninety-four percent forecast that mask infrastructure would be "likely" or "somewhat likely" to deliver 4X masks for patterning the 32 nm node by 2010.
Last week, EE Times reported that attendees at the 2nd International Symposium on Immersion Lithography concluded that 193-nanometer immersion lithography has demonstrated significant progress in all aspects of technology and is on track for insertion into volume manufacturing.