More Moore Develops Innovative Microscope Technology Capable of Viewing Features as Small as 20 Nanometers
Working together, these More Moore participants have created a photoemission electron microscope capable of measuring features as small as 20 nanometers (nm), without destroying the sample. Recently they identified defects of 50 nm buried under the multilayer coating of a mask blank.
“We are proud that More Moore could contribute so significantly to the advancement of EUVL technology and are thankful for the EU support that makes this possible”
A typical application for EUVL is "mask blank inspection" and this requires keeping the sample intact during inspection. Until now, this was not possible. Common methods such as scanning electron microscopy cannot identify defects hidden beneath the multilayer coating of the EUVL mask blank. This is therefore an important step for EUV technology. Masks are an important part of the infrastructure, required for the successful introduction of EUVL technology.
The Commission has funded More Moore in the amount of EUR 23.25 million for 36-months, ending late 2006. The aim of the project, led by ASML from the Netherlands, is to resolve technical problems of EUVL so the technology can timely be introduced for volume production.
EUVL will be the next generation technology used by the semiconductor industry to manufacture integrated circuits, with ever-smaller features. Smaller features - starting at 32 nm instead of the 65 nm common today -- allow chipmakers to fit more transistors on each chip or make more complex chips. Transition to EUVL technology will enable the continuation of increased number of transistors per square mm consistent with Moore's law, which predicts the computing power of semiconductors should double roughly every two years.
Microchips are produced with optical lithography by projecting light through a transparent (UV) or reflecting (EUV) mask onto the surface of a silicon wafer that is covered by a photosensitive layer. The small structures on the mask are etched onto the silicon, creating the features of the semiconductor.
"We are proud that More Moore could contribute so significantly to the advancement of EUVL technology and are thankful for the EU support that makes this possible," says Rob Hartman, ASML's Director Strategic Technology Program and leader of the More Moore project.
"The European funding is an excellent support of our R&D activities and we are pleased that we could achieve such an important result," says Michael Merkel, Managing Director of FOCUS.
About More Moore
The More Moore project involves large and small companies from around Europe, including ASML, Phystex, Zeiss, AMTC, Philips EUV, XTREME technologies, FOCUS, SIGMA-C, AZ Electronic Materials, Schott Lithotec, Philips, XENOCS, Sagem Defense Securite, Imagine Optic, EPPRA and Media Lario. Academic and research institutions participating in More Moore include IMEC, CEA Leti, CNRS, TNO, FOM Rijnhuizen, Fraunhofer Institute, ISAN and IPM RAS (Russian Institutes of Science), ENEA, ELETTRA, and NCSR as well as universities of Bielefeld, Mainz, Delft and Birmingham. All members are highly specialised in the key areas of EUVL and work under the coordination of ASML, the leading producer of lithography equipment used for semiconductor manufacture. For more information on the consortium, please visit our website: https://www.euvlitho.net/MoreMoore.
About FOCUS GmbH
FOCUS GmbH, established in 1990 and based near Wiesbaden, Germany, is a developer and producer of scientific instruments for nanotechnology and nanoanalytics. All Focus devices fulfil the highest demands in versatility and sustainability and represent the most recent scientific and technical knowledge in the field of electron optics and surface science. FOCUS routinely conducts joint projects together with research institutes and universities to develop dedicated scientific instrumentation. For more information please see www.focus-gmbh.com.