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Asahi Glass Co. (AGC) and SEMATECH, a global consortium of the world’s leading chip manufacturers, have entered into a joint development partnership to accelerate mask blank commercialization. SEMATECH and AGC will collaborate at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) on methods for improving extreme ultraviolet (EUV) mask blank yield to accelerate commercial manufacturing readiness.
A team of engineers from AGC has been assigned to SEMATECH’s EUV Mask Blank Development Center at CNSE’s NanoTech Complex in Albany, N.Y., with the goal of reducing defect levels to the 0.003 defects/cm2 at the printable defect size, which is required for manufacturing success. Mask blanks are the starting material used to make the finished mask that contains the device pattern for the lithographic process. Producing defect-free mask blanks in the quantities required for high-volume manufacturing is a key technical challenge that must be solved to prepare EUV lithography for cost-effective insertion at the 22 nm half-pitch generation and below.
“SEMATECH and AGC have already shared a great deal of technical success through collaboration over the past several years,” said Mitsuhiko Komakine, manager of AGC’s EUV Mask Blank Development Group. “AGC is the only vertically integrated EUV blanks manufacturer from low thermal expansion material (LTEM) synthesis to EUV mask blanks consisting of LTEM, deposited film, and resist film. Now in this side-by-side working relationship, our AGC team will benefit from accelerated learning as we leverage SEMATECH’s integration within the IC industry.”
In a cooperative approach to this challenge, SEMATECH’s Mask Blank Development Center, one of several R&D centers within CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex, provides access to state-of-the-art mask and lithography tools and materials, as well as immediate feedback and assistance from SEMATECH member company assignees working there.
For more information, visit www.agc.co.jp/english, www.sematech.org or www.cnse.albany.edu.