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Nikon’s New I-Line Stepper Realizes Highly Accurate Mix and Match with Scanners And High Throughput

New System Creates the Most Effective Mix and Match with the KrF Excimer Laser Scanner

January 6, 2000 – Belmont, California – Nikon Precision Inc. announced today that it will begin accepting orders for the new NSR-SF100 i-line stepper this month. The new stepper achieves resolutions of 0.4 microns or smaller with a 1:4 reduction ratio on an exposure field of 25 x 33 mm. It also boasts a throughput of 120 or more wafers/hour for 200 mm wafers. In addition, the new system is compliant with full-scale 300 mm wafer fab lines, which are expected to be built in 2001. The new stepper is designed to realize superior cost performance in a mix-and-match strategy with Nikon KrF scanners, which are now the main stream production systems in many state-of-the-art fab lines.

The new system is optimized for exposing non-critical layers which generally comprise about half of the total layers in a chip. In addition to sharing the same reduction ratio and exposure field size as the KrF scanner, the NSR-SF100 attains the resolution and high throughput required to create the requisite total balance and superior cost performance for the mix and match formation.

Nikon markets the NSR-S204B and NSR-S203B KrF scanners to meet the industry push toward 0.15 and 0.13 micron applications. These devices meet the demands of the tighter design rules and have become the preferred systems on the most advanced fab line. The NSR-SF100 can also be utilized for non-critical layers in a mix-and-match system with Nikon ArF scanners deployed in mass production, and when fab lines produce 0.13 um devices, expected around the year 2002.

Nikon Precision Inc. is the North American subsidiary of Nikon Corp., the world leader in lithography equipment for the microelectronics manufacturing industry. Nikon offers the most extensive selection of production-class steppers and scanners in the industry, including g-line, i-line, and DUV products. These products serve the wafer, flat-panel display, and thin-film magnetic head industries. Nikon Precision provides service, applications, training, technical support, sales, and marketing for Nikon in North America.

For more information, please contact: Nikon Precision Inc. 1399 Shoreway Road, Belmont, CA 94002-4107 Phone: (650) 508-4674