Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Assessment of 157nm lithographic capability

Technical and Market Requirements:
Due to the rapid development of 193nm immersion lithography, the use of 157nm technology to realize sub-70nm groundrules is highly unlikely.

A critical point had been that the insertion point of 157 nm lithography, or alternately 193 nm immersion, had continuously being shifted, as performance of 193 nm exposure tools and process technology has successfully being improved, so that from today’s perspective the use of 193nm technology appears to be viable in manufacturing even at sub-60nm groundrules. This development has initially forced a delay of a potential 157nm insertion and also required 157nm technology to be used at smaller groundrules, namely at a sub-60nm node, thus pushing for more stringent requirements for components of this technology. This has opened the window for the development of an alternate, competing technology and considerable effort has been spent on checking feasibility of this alternate technology. This move has been diluting the effort especially within the 157 nm infrastructure industry. This effect has initially severely threatened any continuation of 157 nm development and has finally literally killed the 157 nm development efforts.

In conclusion, one can state that even if a user company would intend to introduce 157nm technology in the time frame 2006-2007, the success of this effort would severely be threatened by the lack of sufficient infrastructure comprising production worthy mask materials, mask process, mask making- and inspection equipment, hard pellicle materials and process, mature resist materials and process and last but not least exposure tools in volume numbers.

Exploitation of Results:
If the current trend of the entire industry to move along the immersion technology path is being continued, the introduction of 157nm lithography in its current form seems to be highly unlikely. In this case a number of the results of the FLUOR/UV2Litho project will not be exploited at user sites in the near future. Since, however, the ultimate resolution capability of 193nm immersion lithography is currently not assessable (implying production worthiness of that technology), there might be a window for introduction of 157nm technology in an immersion form around 2008-2010. However, it should be noted that the likelyhood for this to occur remains very small. Development work for this technology would be entirely based on results of the current project.

Since the feasibility of 193nm immersion technology still needs to be proven and conclusive results are not expected before mid of 2005, 157nm lithography is currently ranked as being a backup technology in case immersion fails, as is reflected in the current ITRS roadmap.

More information on the UV2LITHO project can be found at:

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