Our customers are focused on containing the rising cost of wafer processing for next node IC devices.
Our customers are focused on containing the rising cost of wafer processing for next node IC devices. We are stepping up to help them with products that can simplify processing and enhance yields and novel technologies that enable more advanced processing. Our development of these new materials is an example of our balanced pipeline approach.
The diagram below lists a number of lithographic technologies that are either already in use or on our customers’ horizons. Some of these technologies are competing “either-or” approaches, while others can be complementary. Negative tone development and multiple patterning are already in use. Many, though not all, of EMD Performance Materials’ development projects for these technologies are in the Big D category. Extreme ultra-violet (“EUV”) lithography requires high investments and has been delayed by technical problems, but it promises to simplify patterning compared with today’s complex solutions. Here, we are developing materials that can assist in the patterning of EUV photoresists and help overcome some of the current technical limitations of EUV exposure processes. Many projects in this area are intermediate between Big R and Big D.
Directed self-assembly (“DSA”) is a very novel patterning approach where the self-organisation of a specialised coating creates the pattern’s finest features. Lithography only serves to align these structures and guide them to the right location. This technology is clearly Big R – it promises to extend current lithographic techniques and tool sets for several future IC nodes, leading to a particularly cost-effective patterning solution. However, it is quite a departure from the way chips have conventionally been made.
It is not yet known when and how widely novel techniques such as EUV and DSA will replace the proven but costly multiple patterning practiced today – all of these technologies may even co-exist. However, we believe that EMD Performance Materials is well positioned with new product offerings to win in all of the scenarios.