October 16, 2007

Toshiba claims to 'validate' nano-imprint litho

Molecular Imprints Inc. (MII) claims that Toshiba Corp. has ''validated'' the use of its nano-imprint lithography technology in developing 22-nm CMOS devices

Nanoimprint seems to be a viable plan B in case EUV stumbles.

It's unclear if Toshiba will put nano-imprint tools into its production fabs at 22-nm and beyond. At this node, Toshiba is also exploring other lithography technologies, such as 193-nm immersion and extreme ultraviolet (EUV).

''Toshiba leveraged MII's Imprio 250 system to pattern 18-nm isolated features and 24-nm dense features with <1-nm critical dimension uniformity and <2-nm line edge roughness (LER),'' according to MII's paper.

''Defectivity levels of as low as <0.3 defects per cm squared were achieved, which are approaching those of immersion lithography,'' according to MII. ''Device overlay results were also within Toshiba's required specifications.''

Nano imprint is at a critical make or break stage

Most observers predict no real action this year. Estimates are that only 30 to 50 nanoimprint machines shipped in 2006. In 2007, shipments are widely expected to be below 50 units; some sources estimate that vendors in total will ship only 10 to 20 real tools this year.

The delays and soaring costs for extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) and other next-generation lithography technologies have rekindled an interest in nanoimprint in the IC world, particularly among the NAND flash community. The storage and LED camps are likewise looking at nanoimprint for the development of next-generation recording media and photonics-based LEDs.

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