Semiconductors and Components

IMEC Boosts Directed Self-assembly Lithography Process

23 February 2015

Nanoelectronics research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) is presenting details on improvements in directed self-assembly (DSA) process development at this week's SPIE advanced lithography conference, being held in San Jose, Calif.

IMEC, working with semiconductor equipment supplier Tokyo Electron and with chemical company Merck, is due to report reduced DSA defectivity levels.

DSA makes use of the ability of certain polymers to self-organize and produce repeatable nanometer-scale structures. These structures could be lines and gaps and islands although it is some way from allowing these structures to form to manipulating them to form defining structures for integrated circuits.

Nonetheless there is the potential for DSA to be used in collaboration with 193nm wavelength lithography to extend its use down to 10nm critical dimensions or to reduce the need for multiple exposure lithography, which drives up the cost of IC production. DSA could similarly be used with next-generation lithography techniques such as an extreme ultra-violet (EUV) lithography and nano-imprint lithography.

Additionally the partners have developed a DSA-based via patterning process for the 7nm lithography node and IMEC has developed a manufacturing process for 30nm- and 45nm-pitch hexagonal holes based on a single 193nm immersion exposure. The idea is that DSA could be used to define storage positions for DRAM circuits.

Reducing defectivity is one of the hurdles that need to be overcome to allow the use of DSA and IMEC, Merck and Tokyo Electron have achieved best-in-class defectivity values of 24 defects per square centimeter, IMEC said.

“Over the past few years, we have realized a reduction of DSA defectivity by a factor 10 every six months," stated An Steegen, senior vice president of process technologies at IMEC, in a statement. "Together, with Merck and Tokyo Electron, providing state-of-the-art DSA materials and processing equipment, we are looking ahead at two different promising DSA processes that will further improve defectivity values in the coming months. Our processes show the potential to achieve single-digit defectivity values in the near future without any technical roadblocks lying ahead."

IMEC has also decided to organize a first International Symposium on DSA. The event is scheduled to take place October 26 and 27 at IMEC's campus in Leuven, Belgium. The aim of the symposium is to identify key challenges to the insertion of DSA into semiconductor manufacturing and to identify potential solutions.

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Related links and articles:

IHS semiconductor manufacturing research

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