PARIS After months of collaboration, foundry chip supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) and Mapper Lithography BV (Delft, Netherlands) claimed that Mapper's tool located on TSMC's Fab 12 GigaFab is printing features so far unachievable with current immersion lithography technology.
In 2008, TSMC and Mapper concluded an agreement according to which Mapper would ship its first 300 mm multiple-electron-beam maskless lithography platform for process development and device prototyping to TSMC.
This platform then gave TSMC the opportunity to take the next step forward in exploring multiple e-beam technology as a lithography option at 22 nanometer and more advanced process nodes.
Mapper said its e-beam maskless lithography tool uses over 10,000 electron beams working in parallel to directly write circuit patterns on a wafer, eliminating the need for the costly photomasks used in current lithography machines. Its 300mm, 110-beam platform will be upgraded in the next two years to reach industrial maturity.
In a statement, Shang-Yi Chiang, TSMC's senior vice president of Research & Development, declared: "The results coming from our project with Mapper have met aggressive objectives and mark a significant achievement in our Multiple-E-Beam Direct Write program that covers all viable Multiple-E-Beam technologies. Based on these encouraging results, we are convinced that the Multiple-E-Beam technology is one of the technologies to become the future lithography standard."
Note that TSMC and Mapper Lithography are collaborating within the CEA-Leti international consortium focused on electron-beam direct write lithography for IC manufacturing.
Through the three-year program, dubbed Imagine, TSMC said it obtains assured access to maskless lithography infrastructure for IC manufacturing and to 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.
TSMC joined the program mid-2009.