By Cameron Chai
SEMATECH, an international semiconductor association that endeavors to advance semiconductor chip manufacturing through research and development activities, recently reported a significant breakthrough in defect reduction from the multi-layer deposition technique adopted to process mask blanks that have applications in extreme ultra violet lithography (EUVL).
SEMATECH achieved the significant defect reduction by employing the NEXUS Low Defect Density Ion Beam Deposition (LDD IBD) System developed by Veeco Instruments.
EUV masks are fabricated by utilizing ion beam deposition tools. A chip is designed on a semiconductor wafer by projecting the nanometer scale patterns on the EUV mask on the semiconductor wafer. The process necessitates stringent defect control for the EUV masks because one mask could be used during its lifetime to pattern more than six million semiconductor chips. Current and upcoming generations of mobile devices employ chips with smaller geometries and also require them to feature high level performance and power. This is where EUV masks incorporating advanced technology come into the picture.
Two critical aspects governing the generation of advanced technology EUV photomasks for single as well as multilayer processes are complete control over optical properties and very low particulate deposition levels. The IBD systems from Veeco Instrumentation facilitate the production of such high quality film for advanced EUV masks.
Frank Goodwin, Manager of Mask Blank Defect Reduction program at SEMATECH, stated that Veeco’s first-class IBD technology was the main medium that enabled critical film deposition characterized by very low defect levels, and that complies with the 22 nm process defect requirements for EUV mask blanks.