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Nikon Wins CMP Order for 65 nm Copper/Low K Processing

Belmont, Calif., July 11, 2003 – Nikon Corporation announced today that it has obtained a significant order for the NPS3301 300 mm CMP system that will be shipped to a leading development facility in Japan. The system, which will enable the customer to focus on advanced 65nm copper/low k interconnect polishing, will ship in July 2003.

“We are extremely pleased to be awarded this very competitive order. Following exhaustive process qualification of our CMP concept, we now have customer validation of our advanced performance.” stated Osamu Shimoda, General Manager, Nikon CMP Division. “Our success was due to both superior process performance on copper/low k interconnect structures and lower consumable cost.”

Nikon’s CMP innovation stems from decades of lens polish technology where performance advantages were discovered polishing optical materials “face-up” with a unique polishing pad configuration. This technique, coupled with Nikon’s high speed rotation and low pressure range extending through 0.05 psi, delivers customers the polish capability uniquely suited to address the fragile material properties of next generation copper/low k interconnect materials.

Nikon’s unique design also provides significant cost savings. Traditional CMP systems use a consumable ring surrounding each wafer during the polish process adding more than $20 dollars to a wafers production cost. Nikon’s polish technology effectively eliminates this ring resulting in millions of dollars of direct cost savings per year for our customers. Overall cost for consumable material used during wafer processing is up to 50% lower than competitive systems depending upon baseline process.

“Our customer’s requirements included process flexibility for a wide variety of dielectric materials, an integrated CMP clean module, and the reliability required for high volume manufacturing.” added Shimoda. “The NPS 3301 exceeded their expectations.”

Nikon Corporation is a leading global provider of precision semiconductor process equipment to the microelectronics manufacturing industry. Nikon has recently been honored with the prestigious Preferred Quality Supplier Award by Intel Corporation.

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 7,200 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.

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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Contacts:
John Watkins
Sr. Product Marketing Mgr.
Nikon Precision Inc.
(650) 413-8456
jwatkins@nikon.com