By Will Soutter
SK hynix, a global supplier of memory devices including flash memory chips and dynamic random access memory chips (DRAMs), has entered into the extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) mask infrastructure (EMI) partnership of SEMATECH based at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany.
SEMATECH is the global association of manufacturers of semiconductor devices and equipment. The EMI was launched by SEMATECH in 2010 to bridge the critical infrastructure gaps for EUV lithography particularly in the realm of mask metrology. The consortium provides the necessary funding for development of metrology tools which are deemed too expensive for individual companies to develop on their own. The metrology tools are essential for identifying and analyzing defects present in masks required for EUVL. The EMI collaboration enables the participating members to share critical data and carry out crucial analysis for developing suitable metrology tools.
SEMATECH in collaboration with Carl Zeiss is pioneering the first-ever actinic aerial image metrology (AIMS) EUV system in the industry which will facilitate volume production of EUVL. The tool is important for the production of EUVL masks sans defects. The AIMS EUV tool is designed to be compatible with node requirements of 16 nm half pitch technology and can be extended to serve future generations of semiconductor manufacturing nodes. The tool’s first version suitable for production is scheduled to be completed by mid 2014.
Sungjoo Hong, Senior Vice President and Head of the R&D Division of SK hynix, stated that his company expects to play a vital role in speeding the commercialization of EUV technology by extending its support towards the building of crucial metrology tools.