SAN JOSE, Calif.Chip-making consortium Sematech has launched a consortium to develop metrology tools for detecting defects in advanced masks needed for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.
The new EUVL Mask Infrastructure (EMI) Partnership has drawn interest from six unnamed semiconductor industry entities. The big EUV proponents--Hynix, Intel, Samsung and others--are reportedly part of the group.
Producing prototypes of these EUV metrology tools is expected to cost an estimated $200 million or more. There is no indication where the funding will come from.
The goal is to enable defect-free EUV masks for high-volume manufacturing by 2013. The consortium will be located at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering's (CNSE) Albany NanoTech Complex.
The EMI Partnership is open to mask and chip-makers, mask blank suppliers, other consortia, and regional governments. It will be administered by Sematech's Lithography Program, based at the UAlbany NanoCollege.
"EUV mask defectivity is the single greatest challenge to EUV readiness, but finding the defects requires metrology tools that do not yet exist," said John Warlaumont, Sematech's vice president of Advanced Technology, in a statement. "These tools will not be available in time without intervention, and the industry agrees that Sematech is the place to come together and partner for solutions."
The EMI Partnership will address this metrology gap in phases by funding development of three metrology tools. First efforts will focus on enabling an enhanced EUV mask blank inspection capability by 2011, followed by development of an aerial imaging metrology system (AIMS) for EUV in 2013, and finally an EUV mask pattern inspection tool able to work at 16 nm by 2015.
The chip-making consortium recently warned that there is still a major funding shortfall and a lack of mask inspection gear to enable EUV lithography. Intel and Samsung have also expressed concerned about the lack of metrology tools in EUV.
EUV must overcome other technical hurdles, such as the power source and mask infrastructure.