PARIS STMicroelectronics NV announced it has joined Imagine, a CEA-Leti program focused on electron-beam direct write lithography for IC manufacturing for 22-nm and beyond.
Intended to operate for three years, this program allows companies to assess a maskless lithography infrastructure for IC manufacturing and use Mapper's technology as a solution towards high throughput. It covers a global approach, including tool assessment, patterning and process integration, data handling, prototyping and cost analysis.
The purpose of the Imagine industrial program is to reach throughput of 10 wafers per hour per exposure module. As is, this rate would compete with other technologies on a wafers-per-square-meter basis and will offer a better solution in terms of modularity and power consumption, Leti indicated.
According to Joel Hartmann, Silicon-Technology development director for ST, at Crolles, France, CEA is leading the multi-partner program Imagine, and in December 2009, ST and CEA-Leti signed an agreement under which ST would join the Imagine Program.
He told EE Times: "Practically, the Mapper equipment is installed in CEA-Leti premises and thanks to advanced R&D wafers batch processing and ST R&D expertise, we will contribute to assess process/equipment capability in terms of lithography and throughput performances."
In July 2009, CEA-Leti announced that Mapper Lithography NV had shipped one of its 300-mm electron-beam lithography platforms to CEA-Leti in Grenoble, France, to be used as part of the Imagine program.
ST said it has been working for more than a decade with CEA-Leti on maskless lithography.
"Together, ST and CEA-Leti have established a full shaped-beam capability on ST's Crolles pilot line and demonstrated the insertion of e-beam technology in a standard CMOS process flow," stated Hartmann. "Joining the Imagine program is a logical step for ST to get access to a mask-less lithography possible solution for future technology nodes."
Also in July, TSMC joined the Imagine Program in order to federate the semiconductor industry around this technology and accelerate its development and introduction for IC manufacturing.
"ST and TSMC are members of Imagine initiative. There is an interest for big players on semiconductor market to evaluate and assess potential capability of mask-less multi-beam technology for future technology nodes," commented Hartmann to EE Times.