Gigaphoton’s EUV Light Source Advances to 92 Watts Output at 4.5 CE

Gigaphoton Inc. has recently announced that they were able to produce a light output for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography scanners with more than twice of the amount they had three months ago. From the 43 watts at 2.4 conversion efficiency (CE) reported output last February, their prototype laser-produced plasma (LPP) is now emitting light at 92 watts with 4.5 CE.

As one of the main manufacturers in lithography light sources, Gigaphoton has committed to continuously explore the EUV light sources until its output is ample for mass-production. Because of the low output power of the light sources used in EUV systems, wafer exposure takes longer time to complete, which results to throughput insufficiency for high-volume manufacturing (HVM). To demonstrate it with an actual manufacturing data,  a 70 watts light output can only produce 52 wafers per hour. With 92 watts, on the other hand,  Gigaphoton estimated that the throughput will increase to 60 wafers per hour. By the end of 2014, Gigaphoton aims to produce as much as 150 watts and eventually push it further until it reaches the minimum considered output for HVM, which is  250 watts.

Hitoshi Tomaru, Gigaphoton’s president and CEO, said that their achievement of 92 watt output with their light sources is a fruit of the steady, yet unique, R&D efforts to achieve development of higher output, stable, and lower cost of ownership [on] LPP light sources. He also believes that their expertise and efforts to develop LPP light source that accelerates the development of EUV scanners for HVM will encourage the industry to introduce the EUV scanners as the next-generation lithography tools.

The big leap in the energy output of Gigaphoton’s LPP prototype can be attirbuted to the optimized lasers, which radites small tin droplets of diameter less than 20 micrometer with solid state, pre-pulser laser (Yag laser) and high power CO2 laser.  The Yag  laser breaks up the tin droplets into smaller fragments, which when once spread at a sufficient diameter is theexposed on the CO2 laser. The electrons of the plasma radiate with the tin ions, emitting photons of a desired wavelength of 13.5 nanometers. To optimize the performance of the collector mirror, the unwanted tin debris of the radiation are removed by a high output, super conducting magnet and tin etching.

Gigaphoton is a wholly owned subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd. Their EUV light source reasearch and development is a program subsidized by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Gigaphoton’s innovative efforts on LPP EUV technology and other laser technologies has paved the way to cost effective and productive lithography light sources.  They have been working aggressively on EUV lithography with the obejctive of surpassing the era of ArF lithography.

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Gigaphoton making progress with both EUV and 450mm-wafer lithography technology

EUV

Gigaphoton, a major lithography source maker based in Japan, is currently making stable but sustained progress in two different areas of the lithography market: 450mm-wafer litho and EUV (extreme ultra violet lithography).

In the quest led by ASML towards a stable, high-power EUV lithography system, Gigaphoton has moved away from the traditional approach led by Cymer and explored an original technology: laser-produced plasma (LPP). Working since 2002 on this field, the Oyama, Japan-based company had now achieved a 43W light output which represents another milestone in pursue of the 250W EUV light source that is necessary for having a high-volume manufacturing-ready stepper machine.

Light-source power is now deemed by many analysts as the number-one issue preventing EUV lithography from reaching mass adoption

Cymer now claims to have a 105W light-source soon ready, but the traditional approach pursued by the American manufacturer, recently acquired by ASML, is taking more time than expected.

Gigaphoton is hoping that their approach to light sources for HWM-steppers can be quicker and give more robust results.

Despite their inferior power output in comparison with Cymer, Gigaphoton expects their LPP technology to scale faster and expect to be able to reach a 250W output in a couple of years.

LPP light source generate EUV light by irradiating tin droplets using a solid-state laser and then using a main CO2 laser as the main source.

Among the various technical issues that the company has been facing, the main one has probably been debris mitigation, which has been partially solved with the use of superconducting magnets.

The Japanese company has however made lots of strides in another field: 450-mm wafer lithography technology

450mm wafers are not expected to become mainstream in the semiconductor industry at least until 2017-2018, and there are many analysts that suggest that the move from 300mm to 450mm-wafers may not happen at all.

However, the big names in the semiconductor industry (Intel, TSMC, IBM among others), are investing heavily to promote the technology and instituted the Global 450C consortium based in Albany, NY, fully dedicated at the development of all the ecosystem needed to create a successful transition in the industry from 300mm- to 450mm- wafer lithography, including all the wafer-testing process, the prototyping and R&D phase and the high-volume equipment

450mm-wafer lithography is still in its infancy, and the ArF lasers required for the first steppers require a highly stable, energy profile with a greatly improved overlay accuracy
Gigaphoton, who has collaborated with G450C since the very beginning, has recently announced that their ArF laser will be used for the first G450C immersion lithography steppers. Gigaphoton is now striving to become the number one light source provider.

While adoption of EUV for 450mm-wafers is forecasted to happen not before the end of this decade at the earliest, it is clear that Gigaphoton is now one or the only company who can play a relevant role in both technologies for the light-source part.

Hitoshi Tomaru, President and CEO of Gigaphoton, said that œwe are all very excited to be part of the ground-braking work done at G450C. We [Gigaphoton] are fully committed to offer products and continue to invest to achieve the best results in the research and development of high-quality advanced lithography systems.

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