Proceedings PaperOptical Pattern Generator Using Excimer Laser
|Format||Member Price||Non-Member Price|
Reticles (masks on enlarged scale) are needed for optical pattern transfer in the production of integrated semiconductor circuits. In order to meet present requirements for 5X reticles only a direct writing technique is feasible. This means direct exposing of photoresist either with light or an electron beam. Many of todays highly dense reticles require some 10 5 to 10 6 discrete exposures when generated with an optical pattern generator. Optical pattern generators normally use mercury arc lamps to expose positive photoresist, which in turn need 200 milliseconds for each of these discrete exposures, thus requiring to stop the table at every exposure position ("stop and go" mode). This results in running times of several days per reticle. Therefore most reticles are nowadays being manufactured with very expensive e-beam machines. In the early 80's we started the first experiments to expose photoresist with an excimer laser. In order to obtain the maximum gain in speed, the goal was to operate with only one excimer laser pulse per exposure, so that a fast "flash on the fly" operation with an optical pattern generator became true. Equipping a conventional optical pattern generator with an excimer laser as the light source, it has become possible to expose substrates coated with standard photoresist in the "flash on the fly" mode with only 13 nanoseconds per flash. So the thruput could be increased up to 25 times in comparison to a pattern generator equipped with a mercury lamp. A comparison of both operation modes will show that an immense increase of speed is possible, even when a ten years old M3600 pattern generator is used. This system is in function now with very high reliability since more than three years in our IC development line.