Competitors work together to advance eBeam technology for advanced lithography

Aki Fujimura describes the group's collaborative efforts to reduce mask costs and improve accuracy.
16 March 2012

The eBeam Initiative provides a forum for educational and promotional activities regarding new design-to-manufacturing approaches that help reduce mask costs for semiconductor devices based on electron beam (eBeam) technologies, from eBeam direct-write technologies such as character-projection eBeam (CpEb) and multiple eBeam (MEB) to variable-shaped beam (VSB) and MEB mask-writing systems.

A roadmap unveiled at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2012 identifies key milestones to be met by the eBeam Initiative in the coming years to improve mask accuracy and write times, as well as bend the mask cost curve, at the 20‐nm and 14‐nm logic nodes. The eBeam Initiative also highlighted new ecosystem proof points from Initiative members on the use of eBeam technologies to improve mask critical dimension uniformity (CDU) at these advanced nodes through the use of circular eBeam shots -- enabled by model‐based mask data preparation (MB‐MDP) and the availability of production mask writers.

At and below the 20‐nm logic node, mask-assist features as well as some main mask features are typically smaller than 80 nm in width, which makes mask accuracy and wafer yield increasingly difficult to maintain. As a result, CDU on the mask has become a much more critical issue. Innovative eBeam technologies have been introduced-such as mask process correction (MPC), overlapping variable-shaped beam (VSB) shots, circular shots, MB‐MDP, dose modulation and mask‐wafer double simulation-to overcome these challenges and improve mask accuracy as well as reduce mask write times. The eBeam Initiative and its members have played a vital role in guiding and facilitating the ecosystem in supporting the introduction of these critical eBeam technologies.

Aki Fujimura is the chairman and CEO of D2S, Inc. (San Jose, CA), the managing company sponsor of the e-Beam initiative. He was interviewed at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2012.

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