HamaTech APE Completes Initial Stage of Extreme Ultraviolet Mask Cleaning Program with Imec

HamaTech APE, a SUSS MicroTec company (FWB:SMH)(GER:SMH), today announced that it has completed the initial stage of the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Mask Cleaning Program in partnership with imec, a world-leading nanoelectronics research center. With the installation of HamaTech's MaskTrack Pro, imec's 300mm clean room is the first facility in the world equipped with a mask integrity infrastructure for EUV point-of-exposure cleaning research.

As previously announced [imec, July 2009], HamaTech and imec have formed a collaboration specifically dedicated to the development of EUVL mask cleaning technology. Under the program, the companies will develop and qualify processes of record (PORs) that remove contamination from the patterned-side of a EUV mask without damage and that reduce the risk of recontamination during handling and storage. POR development also will include the critical removal of contamination from backside of a EUV reticle to eliminate overlay issues during imaging and minimizing scanner down time.

Kurt Ronse, program director advanced lithography at imec said, “The effective removal of contamination from the EUV reticle is recognized as key priority to advancing EUVL. As the only research facility with a complete mask integrity infrastructure, we are happy to provide the semiconductor industry the platform they need to enable the rapid adoption of the first EUV lithography tools in 2H10.”

Uncontrolled contamination on the mask entering the EUVL high energy 13.5nm radiation vacuum environment will damage the functional surfaces of the mask and projection optics. A pristine, defect-free mask at point-of-exposure necessitates absolute management of the mask and the mask environment throughout its lifetime. HamaTech and imec, in alliance with other strategic partners, will employ the EUVL research infrastructure at imec to explore an innovative holistic approach to in-fab mask management. The program will investigate the development of an integrated handling, storage, inline metrology and cleaning module that interfaces seamlessly with the reticle management system of the EUVL scanner.

“With the installation of MaskTrack Pro, we are very excited to be in a ‘pole-position' for the commercialization of EUV,” said Wilma Koolen-Hermkens, Chief Executive Officer of HamaTech APE. “Working with imec, we will look beyond the normal parameters of the infrastructure to develop a holistic approach that guarantees the most stringent mask integrity requirements of Next Generation Lithography, including EUVL.”

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