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  • Nikon, IBM to Co-Develop Equipment for 0.1-Micron Chip
  • February 2, 1999 (TOKYO) — Nikon Corp. and IBM Corp. will co-develop a lithography system to fabricate microchips with geometries of 0.1-micron meters or less.
    The equipment to be jointly developed is an electron beam stepper. This should be one of the promising lithography technologies to come along with second-generation lithography technologies and an ArF excimer laser stepper. They aim to develop a practical e-beam stepper for geometries of around 0.1-micron meter.

    Japanese companies such as Nikon and Canon Inc. have a traditional strength in producing ordinary lithography systems, but when it comes to second-generation lithography systems using a KrF excimer laser stepper, ASM Lithography (ASML) of The Netherlands is taking a lead to expand its share in the market.

    ASML announced on Jan. 25 that in collaboration with Lucent Technologies Inc. and Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) in the United States, the company would develop a lithography system for mass production based on e-beam lithography technology (SCALPEL) developed by Lucent Technologies.

    Nikon and IBM have been conducting joint basic research in the electron optics system, and last November they succeeded in fabricating a pattern with a line/space of 0.08-micron meters.

    The two companies will develop an e-beam stepper by assembling device techniques such as the stage and a vacuum system from Nikon and electron optics system from IBM. Nikon is to market test equipment in 2003. The total expenditures for this development are estimated to be 5-10 billion yen (US$4.3-8.6 million) by 2003.

    The basic technique with which Nikon and IBM will develop a lithography system is similar to Lucent’s SCALPEL.

    Nikon officials said, however, that they could improve the throughput because they use a lens projection method with a reticle that enables the exposed area at one shot to be made larger than the ordinary method of e-beam direct writing.

    The exposed area at one shot is 1mm square on the reticle and 0.25mm square on the wafer. The throughput is 40 pieces per hour for a 200mm wafer and 20 pieces per hour for a 300mm wafer. It is different from SCALPEL in that they use a larger e-beam scan width of 5mm and a larger current of 25 micron ampere on the wafer.

    (Nikkei Microdevices)



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