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Proceedings Paper

The difficult business model for mask equipment makers and mask infrastructure development support from consortia and governments
Author(s): Scott Hector
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Paper Abstract

The extension of optical projection lithography through immersion to patterning features with half pitch ⩽65 nm is placing greater demands on the mask. Strong resolution enhancement techniques (RETs), such as embedded and alternating phase shift masks and complex model-based optical proximity correction, are required to compensate for diffraction and limited depth of focus (DOF). To fabricate these masks, many new or upgraded tools are required to write patterns, measure feature sizes and placement, inspect for defects, review defect printability and repair defects on these masks. Beyond the significant technical challenges, suppliers of mask fabrication equipment face the challenge of being profitable in the small market for mask equipment while encountering significant R&D expenses to bring new generations of mask fabrication equipment to market. The total available market for patterned masks is estimated to be $2.5B to $2.9B per year. The patterned mask market is about 20% of the market size for lithography equipment and materials. The total available market for mask-making equipment is estimated to be about $800M per year. The largest R&D affordability issue arises for the makers of equipment for fabricating masks where total available sales are typically less than ten units per year. SEMATECH has used discounted cash flow models to predict the affordable R&D while maintaining industry accepted internal rates of return. The results have been compared to estimates of the total R&D cost to bring a new generation of mask equipment to market for various types of tools. The analysis revealed that affordability of the required R&D is a significant problem for many suppliers of mask-making equipment. Consortia such as SEMATECH and Selete have played an important role in cost sharing selected mask equipment and material development projects. Governments in the United States, in Europe and in Japan have also helped equipment suppliers with support for R&D. This paper summarizes the challenging business model for mask equipment suppliers and highlight government support for mask equipment and materials development.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 November 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5992, 25th Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology, 599228 (7 November 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.637597
Show Author Affiliations
Scott Hector, Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5992:
25th Annual BACUS Symposium on Photomask Technology
J. Tracy Weed; Patrick M. Martin, Editor(s)

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