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SPIE Professional January 2012

Advanced Lithography

SPIE Advanced Lithography is the world's premier semiconductor lithography conference and exhibition.

By Rich Donnelly

Logo for Advanced Lithography

For more than 35 years, SPIE Advanced Lithography has been the "must-attend" event for those charting the course for key lithographic technologies in the semiconductor industry. It's been through different names and venues, but Advanced Lithography has always been located in Silicon Valley. It will take place 12-16 February 2012 at the San Jose Convention Center.

"SPIE over many years has played an important role by coordinating this event," says Harry Levinson, symposium co-chair. The event brings together the chipmakers and the people who make materials and equipment that go into the making of the microchips and nanochips.

"It's really important to have all these people come together," says Levinson, who manages the Strategic Lithography Department for GLOBALFOUNDRIES (Milpitas, CA). "It's a good forum to share the needs from my side, which is the chipmaker, with those who produce the equipment that enables that chipmaking to take place. SPIE Advanced Lithography is a key place where that cross-fertilization happens."

Harry Levinson

With the addition of a new conference in 2012 covering advanced etching and related processes, the total spectrum of lithographic patterning technology is presented across seven complementary conferences, and organizers expect new opportunities for important information exchange. Scaling has required thinner resists, which challenges the etch engineers. Pattern collapse — which lithographers have seen for many years — is starting to be seen after etch. These represent a couple of areas for cross-fertilization, and Levinson expects there will be more.

Symposium chair is Donis Flagello, Nikon Research Corp. of America.

Donis Flagello
The next solution

Through the ups and downs of the semiconductor industry, the symposium has always reflected the challenges, trends, and most importantly, the future vision of the key tools in the chipmakers' landscape. In recent years, one big subject has been EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography), which is the most likely candidate to enable the continuation of Moore's Law. Yet not everyone believes it is up to the task. If not EUV, what?

On the other side of that coin, a lively discussion is likely to take place at the Tuesday panel discussion entitled "EUVL Isn't the Solution: Are the Alternative Lithographic Technologies Ready?" As part of the Alternative Lithographic Technologies IV conference, moderators Douglas J. Resnick, (Molecular Imprints, Inc.) and William M. Tong, (KLA-Tencor Corp.) and panelists will review the progress made in each of the alternative lithographic technologies and identify the gaps that need to be addressed to move them forward. Issues include resolution, throughput, defectivity, and infrastructure readiness.

Panel discussions are also scheduled on the following topics:

• Metrology Solutions for Sub-10nm Advanced 3D Integrated Memory and Logic Devices, moderated by Christopher L. Sole and Richard M. Silver (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

• Wild and Crazy Ideas, moderated by Nigel R. Farrar, (Cymer, Inc.) and Mircea V. Dusa, (ASML US. Inc.)

The great thing about "wild and crazy" ideas, says Levinson, is the possibility that after a few years they might not be so wild and crazy anymore.

"I remember discussing immersion lithography with fellow engineers in the 1980s, and there were many people who did not think it would be practical," he says. "There was very little industry interest in negative-tone resist processes only a few years ago, and today it is used in high-volume manufacturing. EUV, once a wild and crazy idea, has gained acceptance, even if not yet ready for manufacturing. Directed self-assembly is another idea that is moving toward 'respectability."'

On Monday morning, the plenary session will feature three talks: "The Mobile Wireless Phenomenon: A Continued Need for Advanced Lithography," by Jim C. Clifford (CDMA Technologies); "High-Resolution Patterning: A View of the Future," by C. Grant Willson, (University of Texas at Austin); and Squares Do Not Make Good Frisbees," by Christopher J. Progler (Photronics Technologies).

The session typically begins with the presentation of the Frits Zernike Award, given each year in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in microlithographic technology, especially those furthering the development of semiconductor lithographic imaging solutions. The award is sponsored by ASML and Cymer.

Several other award presentations take place at SPIE Advanced Lithography:

• 2011 Diana Nyyssonen Memorial Award for best paper in the Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography conference

• The 2011 C. Grant Willson Best Paper Award in the Advances in Resist Materials and Processing Technology conference, sponsored by IBM

• The 2012 Hiroshi Ito Memorial Award for Best Student Paper in the Advances in Resist Materials and Processing Technology conference, sponsored by IBM

• The 2011 Jeffrey Byers Memorial Best Poster Award in the Advances in Resist Materials and Processing Technology conference, sponsored by Tokyo Electron Ltd.

• The 2012 Best Student Paper Award in Optical Microlithography for the Optical Microlithography conference, sponsored by Cymer.

A two-day exhibition on Tuesday and Wednesday is a highlight of the week, offering attendees the opportunity to see the latest technology available from the industry's top semiconductor suppliers, integrators, and manufacturers.

For more information and to register for SPIE Advanced Lithography, visit spie.org/al or follow on Twitter: @spieLitho.


The semiconductor industry is now well-engaged with effecting the transition of EUV lithography from the laboratory to the wafer fab. Consequently, there is now a focus on the engineering challenges associated with productivity — light source intensity, equipment reliability, and yield. There is also considerable attention being given to issues related to the manufacturing of products — process integration, process control, and OPC.

The speed at which these remaining problems are solved will determine how soon EUV lithography will be implemented in high volume manufacturing.

SPIE Advanced Lithography provides an excellent opportunity for lithographers to learn about the status and solutions for the relevant concerns.

- Harry Levinson

DSA course offered for first time

Among the new courses at SPIE Advanced Lithography in 2012 is "Directed Self-Assembly and its Application to Nanoscale Fabrication," taught by DSA pioneers Juan de Pablo, Paul Nealey, and Ricardo Ruiz.

DSA has been of increasing interest at the symposium and in the industry, and is a key emerging technology to extend optical lithography.

A slate of 12 half- and full-day courses complements the technical program at the symposium.

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at spieprofessional@spie.org.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201201.29

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