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Underscoring its role as industry consensus builder, SEMATECH will host its third Lithography Forum May 12-14, in sessions designed to elicit views and drive agreement on the most realistic approach to next-generation lithography technology.
The meeting of global lithography experts from industry and academia comes amid growing uncertainty, as evidenced at the recent SPIE conference, on the approach manufacturers and suppliers should to take to prepare for the transition from the 32 nm to the 22 nm half pitch technology node. Investments are huge: lithography tools and infrastructure, which take up to five years to develop, can cost more than $30 million per unit for the current generation; next-generation high-end tools are expected to exceed $40 million.
"The question of what next generation lithography will be is becoming ever more important," said G. Dan Hutcheson of VLSI Research, a leading semiconductor analyst. "The problem is that the 22 nm node is upon us, and if you are a lithographer, you are going to be standing before your boards soon with your head on the block over a bet on one of these solutions."
Over 55 percent of companies surveyed in May 2006 at the previous forum preferred current-generation 193nm immersion technology until at least 2009. For 2012 and beyond, however, EUV (extreme ultra violet) lithography, which uses extremely short wavelengths of light to image circuit patterns on the surface of semiconductor wafers, was the primary choice. However, increasing interest in double patterning balanced by concerns over its cost, and technical progress in EUVL will likely result in changes in the roadmap.
"Given the rising costs and increasing pressure on R&D funding, the industry needs another critical and objective assessment of lithography options," said Michael Lercel, SEMATECH's director of lithography. "Measuring the perception of the readiness of emerging technologies - which we'll ask the Litho Forum participants to weigh in on - is the first step in getting suppliers and partners on board to build tools, materials, and processes for the factory floor."
As in prior forums, various candidate lithography technologies will update the industry on their progress toward readiness for manufacturing insertion, and attendees will be polled, both before and during the meeting, for their opinions on the most likely technology choices for future manufacturing. Unlike other focused conferences, including the SEMATECH-sponsored EUVL Symposium and Immersion Symposium, which provide deep technical results on a single technology, the goal of the Litho Forum is to provide a balanced view of the options for future lithography.
The session is open to the public, and will be held in Lake George, New York as part of the SEMATECH Knowledge Series. Further information is available at
SEMATECH plays a major role in arbitrating generational shifts by hosting industry-wide forums to foster dialogue and build consensus. SEMATECH also contributes to maintaining the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), a 15-year assessment of the industry’s future technology requirements which helps drive the semiconductor industry’s research and development strategies. The consortium works with members and partners on a pre-competitive basis to drive technology from the lab to manufacturing.
For 20 years, SEMATECH® (www.sematech.org), the global consortium of leading semiconductor manufacturers, has set global direction, enabled flexible collaboration, and bridged strategic R&D to manufacturing. Today, we continue accelerating the next technology revolution with our nanoelectronics and emerging technology partners.
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