TSMC (TWSE: 2330; NYSE: TSM)
and CEA-Leti, the leading French semiconductor research institute, signed an
agreement today in which TSMC will join the new industrial program IMAGINE,
led by CEA-Leti, on maskless lithography for IC manufacturing. Intended to operate
for three years, this program allows companies to assess a maskless lithography
infrastructure for IC manufacturing and use MAPPER 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 is always pushing for cost-effective lithography and the development
of maskless lithography is one of the potential solutions. We have already announced
the joint steps with Mapper to explore multiple e-beam lithography for IC manufacturing
at 22 nanometer node and beyond," said TSMC's VP of R&D, Jack Sun.
"By joining the IMAGINE program at CEA-Leti, we intend to federate the
semiconductor industry around this technology and accelerate its development
and introduction for IC manufacturing."
"Lithography is a major challenge for the industry. A maskless approach
can offer flexibility and gain in cost of ownership. Together with MAPPER, we
see a route towards industrial throughput," said Leti's CEO, Laurent Malier.
"Having TSMC on board the IMAGINE program is pivotal and will strengthen
the assessment towards manufacturing. It shows the commitment in the technology
from the industry and will take maskless lithography to the next step in the
development that is required to make it a viable solution for 22-nm manufacturing."