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Nikon Announces Latest i-line Step-and-Repeat Exposure System — NSR-SF120

High Throughput Scan-Field Stepper Mix-and-Matches to DUV Scanners

July 12, 2002 – To create the most cost-effective tool for sub-critical layers of next-generation DRAMs and MPUs, Nikon Corporation has developed a new i-line scan-field stepper, the NSR-SF120. The NSR-SF120 is designed to realize the superior cost performance of a mix-and-match strategy with Nikon DUV scanners, which are now the main systems in state-of-the-art semiconductor fab lines.

Boasting throughput of at least 100 wafers/hour for 300 mm wafers, and 120 wafers/hour for 200 mm wafers, the NSR-SF120 achieves a resolution of 280 nm or better on a large exposure field of 25 x 33 mm.

Nikon was the first in the industry to develop a new-concept i-line stepper specifically for mix-and-match with KrF lens-scanning steppers. Order acceptance for that first generation, the NSR-SF100, began in January 2000.

Specification Summary

Resolution280 nm or better
Numerical Aperture (N.A.)0.62
Light Sourcei-line (365 nm)
Projection Magnification1:4
Exposure Field25 x 33 mm
Alignment Accuracy35 nm or less (M+ 3 s)
Throughput300 mm wafers, 100 wafers/hr or more
200 mm wafers, 120 wafers/hr or more

With the same reduction ratio and field size as Nikon’s DUV scanners, these i-line steppers are ideal for exposing sub-critical layers, which can comprise roughly half of the 20 or more layers of a device. These characteristics, combined with high throughput, provide a superior combination of cost performance and productivity to help reduce capital costs.

The NSR-SF120 is designed to operate in a manner similar to the scanning-type KrF steppers NSR-S204B, NSR-S205C, and NSR-S206D, as well as with the ArF steppers NSR-S305B and NSR-S306C. A newly developed high-N.A. lens enables a leap in i-line resolution to 280 nm. The system can effectively expose sub-critical layers to support the 130-100 nm device node while offering high throughput for the 300 mm age.

About Nikon: Nikon Corporation is the world leader in lithography equipment for the microelectronics manufacturing industry with a 40% market share and more than 7,000 exposure systems installed worldwide, including over 700 DUV scanning systems. Nikon offers the most extensive selection of production-class steppers and scanners in the industry. These products serve the wafer, photomask, flat panel display (LCD) and thin-film magnetic head (TFH) industries. Nikon Precision Inc. provides service, training, applications and technical support, as well as sales and marketing for Nikon lithography equipment in North America.


Susan Bernardi
Nikon Precision Inc.
(650) 508-3819