EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands -- Defying convetional wisdom, the Philips Semiconductor group intends to push 248-nanometer krypton fluoride (KrF) lithography to 0.12-micron processes using phase-shift masks and optical enhancement, the firm's chief technologist told Semiconductor Business News today.
Theo A.C.M. Classen, executive vice president and chief technology officer of the Dutch chip giant, said Philips wants to use the stable and proven deep-ultraviolet lithography as long as possible before switching to next-generation 193-nm argon fluoride (ArF) systems.
While memory-chip makers have long hoped to use 248-nm lithography for the 0.12- and 0.13-micron node, it is unusual for a logic-device firm, such as Philips, to follow the same path. Generally, logic-chip makers believe they can't cover the higher cost of phase-shift masks for the much smaller production runs of logic versus memories. Classen, however, said it is a cost trade-off.
"The extra expense of phase shift is still not as costly as installing a totally new argon fluoride lithography tool set," he said. "If 193-nm tools become stable at the 0.12-micron node, we might consider switching to them." He believed it was more likely that Philips would shift to argon fluoride at 0.10-micron processing.