LONDON – Mapper Lithography BV has said foundry chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. will receive one of the first Matrix pre-production e-beam maskless lithography systems.
This is not unexpected as TSMC (Hsinchu, Taiwan) has been using a pre-alpha 300-mm multiple-electron-beam maskless lithography platform from Mapper (Delft, The Netherlands) for process development and device prototyping. TSMC has also participated in the Imagine collaborative R&D project using a research tool installed at CEA-Leti (Grenoble, France).
In maskless e-beam lithography the radiation is not passed through, or reflected from, a mask but instead is used to direct-write to the photoresist. The use of multiple beams or scanning mirrors or arrays are intended to address this but the technology still has problems with throughput.
The Matrix maskless e-beam lithography system works with 5-keV electrons that have a wavelength of 0.02-nm, making resolution relatively easy compared with the difficulties experienced getting nanometer resolution from current 193-nm wavelength optical lithography. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, a rival technology that operates at 13.5-nm wavelength, could in theory move to 6.7-nm to address resolution concerns.
Mapper recently announced that a first pre-production tool dubbed Matrix would be supplied to CEA-Leti after the completion of its build in 2012. Bert Jan Kampherbeek, CEO of Mapper, told EE Times: "We will install a tool at TSMC as well."
Kampherbeek said that the Matrix machine would be designed to house 13,260 e-beams and for a final 10 wafer per hour (wph) target. However, the Matrix 1.1 version being built in 2012 would use 1,326 or 10 percent of the beams for a 1-wph throughput.
"Already in the Matrix 1.1 we will have the 10-wph source and the 13,260 lens array," said Kampherbeek.
Kampherbeek said the next version of Matrix, version 10.1 would make use of the full 13,260 e-beam capability and offer 10-wph throughput. Finally a clustered version of the machine, the Matrix 10.10 would include ten 10-wph units in one main frame to offer 100-wph throughput which is widely seen to be a commercial requirement.
Kampherbeek did not say when Matrix 1.1 would be installed in Grenoble or at TSMC.
There are at least three potential suppliers of the maskless e-beam technology: IMS Nanofabrication AG (Vienna, Austria), KLA-Tencor Corp. (Milpitas, Calif.) with its Reflective Electron Beam Lithography (REBL) system and Mapper Lithography.
Matrix 10.10 cluster maskless e-beam lithography machine
Related links and articles:
Darkhorse litho technologies stay in NGL race
E-beam Initiative ready with updated roadmap
Maskless e-beam litho good for 14-nm, says CEA-Leti
MIT scientists claim 9-nm e-beam resolution
TSMC/Mapper: Multiple e-beam technology to become lithography standard