Besides providing ISMT with advanced mask materials, Asahi also will send scientists to work with ISMT technologists at International SEMATECH North, the consortiums advanced R&D facility at the University at Albany, N.Y., the participants said.
Giang Dao, a director of ISMTs Lithography Division, said the agreements clearly demonstrate Asahis continuing commitment and leadership in the development of advanced materials for mask applications, which started with the development of modified fused silica substrate and hard and soft pellicle materials for 157 nm lithography several years ago.
AGCs commitment to International SEMATECHs EUV program shows there is significant supplier interest in beginning major efforts to develop mask infrastructure for EUV commercial production needs by 2009, in line with the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, said Dao.
Dao added that AGC will utilize ISMTs state-of-the-art tools at UAlbany to further technology development for their own commercial manufacturing efforts. Earlier this year, ISMT entered into a five-year strategic alliance with UAlbany to develop EUV infrastructure for industry needs in 2007. The program focuses on defect-free masks and special resists. An estimated 50-60 ISMT assignees and supporting technologists are expected to staff the program by 2006.
EUV mask technology is complex, thus requiring significant resources and time to develop. The industry needs to begin development as soon as possible to meet those needs, and AGCs agreement with ISMT is a significant step in that direction, said Mr. Seiji Munekata, AGCs Executive Officer and General Manager, Central R&D Center.
Munekata also said, AGC has already established its research group in the central research lab, focusing on the development of polishing technology as well as material development in addition to a collaborative work with ISMT. AGC hopes that the collaborative work with ISMT will realize the EUVL technology to be in time for its production.
The availability of affordable masks technology and related materials in time for next-generation lithography has been a persistent challenge to the semiconductor industry. For several years, ISMT has led the industry by making mask availability and cost control a top priority, initiating a variety of projects embracing metrology, standards development and infrastructure development.