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ASML, IMEC to take EUV lithography to high-NA

By Peter Clarke , Oct. 30, 2018 – 

The research agreement covers both the improvement of high-volume production with current systems and the development of future EUV systems using a high numerical aperture (NA) of 0.55. The two companies plan to establish a joint high-NA EUV research lab.

Research with the current NA of 0.33 will be based on the installation of an NXE:3400B,  ASML's most advanced and high-volume production EUV scanner in IMEC's cleanroom at its wafer fab in Leuven.

With a 250W light source the NXE:3400B is capable of processing more than 125 wafers an hour, a throughput benchmark in commercial IC production. Other changes may include alignment and leveling sensors, to enable optimal process control and facilitate overlay matching to the immersion scanner NXT:2000i. In commercial fabs EUV lithography is used for critical layers while lower cost immersion scanners are used for the majority of wafer processing making precision alignment a key requirement.

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