Applied materials unveil new low-cost chip tools in the lithography process

Applied materials unveil new low-cost chip tools in the lithography process

By Jane Lanhy Lee

Oakland, Calif. (Reuters) – Silicon Valley-based Applied Materials Inc, one of the most important makers of equipment for chip manufacturing, said on Tuesday it has started selling a new tool that could reduce the cost of a process involving lithography.

Lithography uses light to print a pattern on a wafer, the shiny round disk used to make chips. This process can happen dozens of times per wafer. Each time, the wafer goes through a complex process of depositing material, measuring to make sure the pattern is printed correctly, then etching the material to make transistors and other items, and cleaning the wafer to start over.

As patterns get smaller and reach the limits of what light can physically print, additional techniques are required to meet the demand. That’s especially true of Dutch tool maker ASML’s latest lithography tool, called EUV, which stands for extreme ultraviolet, the wavelength of light used.

One of the tricks is to repeat a pattern twice.

Applied Materials’ new tool, the Centura Scalpa, is used to light the first pattern only once and create the final pattern from it.

“We actually create a plasma and we electrically stably shape it into what we call a ribbon beam,” Steven Sherman, who led the team developing the product, explained to Reuters. “We direct it toward the wafer in an angled way where we…remove material in a very precise way to change the shape of the pattern on the wafer very precisely.”

Eliminating even one lithography cycle can save money, energy and water, Sherman said, estimating that every time Centura SculptA is used in the process, chipmakers can save about $250 million in capital costs for a fabrication facility that can process 100,000 wafers per month. .

Applied Materials cited chipmaker Intel Corp. in a statement as saying it had collaborated closely on “Sculptor optimization” and will use the technology. It declined to name other customers.

(Reporting by Jane Lanhy Lee; Editing by Leslie Adler)

#Applied #materials #unveil #lowcost #chip #tools #lithography #process

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button