A prototype extreme ultraviolet lithography system recently made its debut at the Dept. of Energy's Sandia National Labs in Livermore, Calif. Hopes are that EUV techniques will lead to circuit features of 35 nm or less.
The prototype stepper, called the Engineering Test Stand (ETS), is not slated for commercial production for at least four years. It is expected to produce features of about 70 nm initially. It was developed via a collaborative effort among three U.S. Dept. of Energy national laboratories and a consortium of semiconductor companies called the EUV LLC. The consortium includes Intel, Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Micron Technology Inc., Infineon Technologies, and IBM. The three DOE national laboratories are Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories in Calif.
LLC partners and lithography tool suppliers during the next year will refine the technology and get it ready to create a prototype commercial machine. Sandia is responsible for development of the extreme ultraviolet light source for the lithography tool, and handles system integration and refinement of light-sensitive chemicals used in device patterning. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides expertise in measuring the performance of components used in the tool's printmaking "camera," using bright extreme ultraviolet light created by the Advanced Light Source synchrotron.