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Imec Ramps Up the Development of the High-NA EUV Patterning Ecosystem

Published: May 03,2022

LEUVEN,Belgium— At the 2022 SPIE Advanced Lithography and Patterning Conference, imec presents significant progress in preparing the High-NA patterning ecosystem for the imec-ASML Joint High-NA Lab, which will be centered around the first 0.55NA extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography prototype tool. High-NA EUV lithography will be key to advance Moore’s Law beyond 2nm technology generations. Advances are reported in developing patterning and etch processes, in screening new resist and underlayer materials, in improving metrology and in photomask technology.

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Luc Van den hove, CEO imec: “Imec is partnering with ASML on High-NA technology as ASML is building its first prototype 0.55NA EUV lithography scanner EXE:5000. High-NA EUV lithography is projected to print the most critical features needed for beyond 2nm logic chips with fewer patterning steps compared to current 0.33NA EUV lithography. It is our role, in tight collaboration with the global patterning ecosystem, to ensure timely availability of advanced resist materials, photomasks, metrology techniques, (anamorphic) imaging strategies, and patterning techniques – to fully benefit from the resolution gain offered by the High-NA EUV lithography scanner. At this year’s SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference, we have 12 contributions in the realm of High-NA EUV lithography, showing that we are well on track to prepare for ecosystem readiness.”

Kurt Ronse, Program Director Advanced Patterning imec: “Imec and its partners take several directions to address these challenges. They show that image contrast can be significantly improved by tweaking the operation conditions of existing metrology tools. Image analysis and defect classification are further enhanced by dedicated software, supported by deep learning frameworks (such as deep learning based de-noising). Finally, in close collaboration with its metrology suppliers, imec explores alternative metrology techniques for reliably measuring small features, such as high-throughput scanning probe metrology and low-voltage aberration corrected SEM.”

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