Thursday, May 1, 2008

Many options expected in the future of lithography

Maintaining the historical pace of reducing half-pitch for each technology generation requires overcoming the challenge of extending the incumbent optical projection lithography technology at 193nm while simultaneously developing alternative, next generation lithography (NGL) technologies. Not only is it necessary to invent technical solutions to challenging problems, it is critical that die costs remain economical even as the costs of design, process development, masks, resist, and exposure tools rise. Maintaining economical production costs is becoming a bigger challenge as the rising costs of developing a new generation of lithography technology must be amortized over relatively few generations of integrated circuits.

In the Difficult Challenges tables in the 2005 ITRS, stronger emphasis was placed on challenges related to immersion lithography. The 2005 chapter includes more detail describing cost of ownership, resolution enhancement techniques (RET), and design for manufacturing (DFM) with lithography-friendly design rules.

Continued emphasis was placed on challenges for implementing cost-effective post-optical lithography solutions, and more detail was added on the requirements for extreme ultraviolet (EUV), imprint, and maskless lithographies.

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