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Nikon Pushes Dry Lithography below the 65 nm Node with POLANO

Advanced Polarization Control Improves Image Contrast by 20 Percent

Belmont, California – November 20, 2004 – Nikon Corporation announced it has developed POLANO*, the industry’s first advanced polarized illumination system for IC lithography systems. POLANO improves image contrast by 20 percent, resulting in superior resolution, depth of focus, and critical dimension (CD) uniformity. Polarized illumination control optimizes the performance of lithography systems with ultra-high NA lenses (>0.90 NA). POLANO provides a half-generation improvement in resolution with no loss of illumination intensity and no impact to throughput.

POLANO is available as an option in the spring of 2005 on the NSR-S308F, Nikon’s newest ArF scanner system, which starts shipping next month. POLANO will also be available on Nikon’s ArF immersion system which will have an NA greater than 1.0, and will begin shipment in the second half of 2005.

High NA lithography systems, dry or wet, will benefit from Nikon’s advanced polarized illumination system. Nikon has succeeded in changing the illumination light into s-polarized light that boosts image contrast. Not only is Nikon the innovation leader in polarized illumination control, but Nikon was able to develop the system with no loss of illumination intensity or system productivity.

When using POLANO on the NSR-S308F, which has a resolution capability of 65 nm or better, the resolution limit is improved by a half-generation. The improved image contrast increases the exposure margin and enhances the CD uniformity, a critical parameter for IC manufacturers. CD uniformity can be improved by as much as 20 percent.

“We’re extending the resolution limits of our tools with no impact to productivity. Resolution, depth of focus, and CD uniformity are all substantially improved” stated Geoff Wild CEO of Nikon Precision, Inc. He continued “This is another great technical advancement from Nikon that the industry will quickly embrace.”

*POLANO: Polarization Optimization for Lithographic Advance in NSR Optics

About Nikon
Since 1980, Nikon Corporation has been revolutionizing lithography with innovative products and technologies. The company is a worldwide leader in lithography equipment for the microelectronics manufacturing industry with more than 7,600 exposure systems installed worldwide. Nikon offers the most extensive selection of production-class steppers and scanners in the industry. These products serve the semiconductor, 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. For more information about Nikon, access our web site at www.nikonprecision.com

Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and changes in condition, particularly those related to industry requirements and other risks. The Company undertakes no obligation to update the information in this press release.

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Contact:
Bernie Wood
Director of Marketing
Nikon Precision Inc.,
(650) 413-8533 phone
bwood@nikon.com