COMPANY PRESS RELEASE: Tokyo Electron Limited has announced that it has agreed to join forces with Canon Inc. (from 2002 to pioneer exploration into 70-nanometer (nm) processes utilizing F2 (157 nm wavelength) excimer laser photolithography tools.
Current state-of-the-art photolithography equipment employs as a light source either ArF (argon fluoride) excimer laser (193 nm wavelength), for use in 110 nm resolution applications, or KrF (krypton fluoride) excimer laser (248 nm wavelength), for 130 nm processes.
The partnership between TEL, which boasts a high market share in the coater/developers sector, and Canon, a leading developer of advanced lithography technology, will leverage the combined resources of the companies to quickly identify and formulate solutions to the specific challenges and idiosyncrasies borne of processes utilizing the new light source. In doing so, TEL and Canon aim to ensure the smooth installation and startup of the new process upon introduction to market, and to provide customers with fast and efficient support.
Through the linking of a CLEAN TRACK ACTR 12, a 300 mm coater/developer system manufactured by TEL, with a Canon F2 exposure tool, that is to be assembled at Canon’s Utsunomiya Optical Products Operations in Utsunomiya city, Tochigi prefecture, engineers from both companies will initially conduct testing to clarify compatibility and other process issues.
In recent years, the trend toward high-level circuit density has fuelled the pursuit by semiconductor producers of smaller feature sizes and higher productivity. As a manufacturer of semiconductor production equipment, TEL intends, through this joint research, to effectively respond to such industry demands and to provide comprehensive fine-tuned support in its photolithography field, including facilitating fast process installation and startup.
TEL and Canon will also appeal to manufacturers of photoresist, the light-sensitive material that is central to the photolithography process, for their cooperation and conduct ongoing evaluations and problem-solving initiatives from the standpoint of an end-user. Moreover, TEL and Canon are considering forming similar partnerships with other production equipment manufacturers aimed at realizing more comprehensive user support.