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SPIE Professional April 2012: Bonus Web Content

Photomask Japan's Successful Return

Highlights from the Symposium on Photomask and Next Generation Lithography Mask Technology

By Steffen Schulze

Logo for Photomask Japan 2012

Due to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the Photomask Japan (PMJ) committee decided to cancel PMJ2011. This year, the Symposium on Photomask and Next Generation Lithography Mask Technology XIX, was held 17-19 April in Yokohama, Japan.

This well-planned event included 74 oral and poster presentations and drew 323 attendees from around the world. The exhibition accompanying the event attracted an additional 164 visitors. 

Keynote speaker Ichiro Mori of the EUVL Infrastructure Development Center Inc. provided a comprehensive overview on the status of EUV lithography, noting progress made as well as challenges remaining for high-volume manufacturing.

Also discussed were developments for EUV mask manufacturing and the alternative extensions for 193nm lithography. Significant progress was reported in the infrastructure development for EUV mask making - from substrate to mask inspection as well as metrology.

The mask data preparation session focused on software based methods for defect avoidance as well as reduction of mask writing time. Complete solutions for mask CD and mask registration control were shown - combining metrology and a repair methodology based on substrate modifications.

A special panel discussion, "Which direction should we go - REAL or DREAM," focused on the topic of the defect-free EUV mask. Both panel and audience landed on middle ground. It is anticipated that defect-free substrates won't be available soon even though the quality is improving. Yet a number of techniques for defect avoidance and repair are maturing and offer pathways to a practical solutions in the not so far future.

The opening night banquet featured what has become an icon of the conference- two rock bands staffed by employees of the mask manufacturers and semiconductor companies. Two movie presentations, "Mask Makers Olympics," directed by Naoya Hayashi (DNP), and "Who wants to be an EUV-MASK millionaire," directed by Hiroaki Morimoto (Toppan), provided laughter and a light atmosphere at the end of a long conference day.

Attendees are looking forward to next year, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the symposium.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201204.42

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