TNO uses euv research facility for chip machine makers

TNO completes the construction of its exposure and analysis facility EBL-2 and shines an euv source on a test sample in the exposure chamber for the first time. The chip industry can use the facility to investigate the effect of UV exposure on materials.

Among other things, the sustainability and the degree of ‘pollution’ by exposure to euv can be analyzed with the EBL-2 facility, reports TNO. The facility consists of two parts: there is an illumination part, which in turn consists of an EUV light source, a light beam unit and an illumination chamber. In addition, there is a system for chemical analysis of test sample surfaces. This works on the basis of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, or xps. Both systems operate in a vacuum.

According to the organization, all companies in the EUV industry can start using it, such as suppliers of ASML such as Zeiss. ASML is most advanced with the implementation of euv lithography for machines to make chips. For example, Samsung and GlobalFoundries expect to be able to use the ASML machines in the production of 7nm chips, which will happen at the end of 2018 or early 2019 at the earliest. TSMC expects to be able to use euv only with the switch to 5nm. ASML’s competitor Nikon is also working on euv machines and research institute IMEC is also working on it.

The EUV lithography technique uses extreme ultraviolet light, which due to its shorter wavelength can produce smaller structures in chip production than with immersion lithography. Currently, chip manufacturers are still using machines based on immersion lithography, but the limits of that method are coming into view.