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Global photomask community gathers at SPIE-sponsored event to solve industry issues

24 September 2012

Kevin MacLean, Roger Sturgeon
Kevin MacLean (left) and Roger Sturgeon were awarded the 2012 BACUS Prize during the recent SPIE Photomask Technology conference. See more photos from the event at www.spie.org/x90428.xml.


MONTEREY, California, and BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- The recent SPIE Photomask Technology -- the world's largest conference on the tools and systems essential for making computer chips smaller and more versatile -- included more than 100 technical talks and an exhibition featuring companies from throughout the global semiconductor industry. Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, the event was held in Monterey, California, 11-13 September, and was the 32nd year for the event.

Talks covered patterning, metrology, data preparation, process control, simulation and modeling, extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), and emerging technologies along with discussions of current industry issues and challenges.

Among highlights, John Chen of NVIDIA Corp. led off with a well-received keynote presentation offering the end user's perspective,  emphasizing the importance of precision, performance, and perfection of lithography and mask-making in the manufacture of new products and the continuation of Moore's Law.

The eBeam Initiative presented several papers dealing with the project's efforts to improve mask accuracy and wafer quality while maintaining practical write times and helping to control both the costs and complexities associated with advanced mask making.

A panel discussion concluding the conference examined the challenges in reducing optical patterning solutions to the 10nm and 7nm nodes, focusing on the interaction of the mask with lithography, electronic design automation (EDA), and design.

Kevin MacLean (PDF Solutions) and Roger Sturgeon (FF Transforms) were awarded the 2012 BACUS Prize for their creation of the CATS mask data preparation software. The prize is awarded annually in recognition of contributions to the photomask industry that are enduring, enabling, and represent a fundamental change in photomask manufacturing, technology, or use.

Winners were announced in SPIE's first "live" online vote for Best Paper Awards:

Oral presentations:

  • First place, "Future mask writers requirements for the sub-10nm node era," Mahesh Chandramouli, Nathan E. Wilcox, Andrew T. Sowers, Damon M. Cole, Frank E. Abboud, Intel Corp. (8522-55)
  • Second place, "Interaction of 3D mask effects and NA in EUV lithography," Jens Timo Neumann, Paul Gräupner, Johannes Ruoff, Winfried Kaiser, Reiner Garreis, Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH; Bernd Geh, Carl Zeiss SMT Inc./ASML-TDC (8522-107)
  • Third place, "EUVL mask repair: expanding options with nanomachining," Emily E. Gallagher, Gregory R. McIntyre, Mark Lawliss, IBM Corp.; Tod E. Robinson, Ronald R. Bozak, Roy L. White, RAVE LLC (8522-56).


  • First place, "Effect of radiation exposure on the surface adhesion at Ru-capped MoSi multilayer blanks," Göksel Durkaya, Abbas Rastegar, Aron Cepler, Hüseyin Kurtuldu, SEMATECH North (8522-39)
  • Second place, "Impact of EUV photomask line-edge roughness on wafer prints,"  Zhengqing J. Qi, Emily E. Gallagher, Amy E. Zweber, IBM Corp.; Yoshiyuki Negishi, Tasuku Senna, Satoshi Akutagawa, Toshio Konishi, Toppan Photomasks, Inc.; Gregory R. McIntyre, IBM Corp. (8522-96)
  • Third place, "Direct dose map synthesis for raster-based multiple electron-beam systems," Amyn A. Poonawala, Synopsys, Inc.; Lars H. Bomholt, Synopsys Switzerland, LLC (8522-94).

Exhibiting companies and event sponsors included semiconductor industry leaders such as Intel, Nikon, Carl Zeiss, KLA, Applied Materials, Synopsys, Mentor Graphics, and others. Products included production and test equipment, automated repair systems, and data management systems.

Frank Abboud of Intel Corp. and Thomas Faure of IBM Corp. co-chaired the event.

Conference proceedings will be published individually in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as approved after the meeting, and also in collected print and digital volumes and collections.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 225,000 constituents from approximately 150 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional growth, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $2.7 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2011.

Media contact:
Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager, SPIE
+1 360 685 5478