Belmont, Calif., July 7, 2003 -Nikon has shipped its first electron beam (EB) stepper, the NSR-EB1A, to Semiconductor Leading Edge Technologies Inc. (Selete) in Tsukuba City, Japan. The system shipped to Selete is the world’s first full field electron projection lithography (EPL) tool and will initially be used for advanced 65 nm development. Nikon has taken the lead in the development of next-generation lithography systems with the shipment of this system and with R&D efforts evaluating and developing other technologies including immersion ArF, fluorine (F2) and extreme ultra-violet (EUV).
EB systems up to now have performed exposure by moving a single electron beam as if writing with a pen, but this process is extremely slow. Nikon has succeeded in increasing the writing speed by exposing an area 2500 times larger than earlier systems using sub-field shots that are 250 microns square, thereby achieving fast processing times. The first system will achieve 7 to 10 wafers/hour for 300 mm wafers and the mass-production system will achieve 15 to 20 wafers/hour. In the past, electron beam lithography systems produced less than one wafer per hour.
The price is expected to be slightly higher than a leading-edge Argon-Fluorine (ArF) stepper. Although the system is more expensive, it has a significant advantage in that expensive phase-shift masks are not needed, and mask cost can be greatly reduced by using standard stencil masks.
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.
Semiconductor Leading Edge Technologies, Inc. (Selete) was founded in 1996. Selete has been working on the preliminary development of advanced device processes under contract from 12 semiconductor device manufacturers as ASUKA project. (Apr. 2001 – Mar.2006, 70 billion yen budget)
Selete is advancing its R&D activities mainly at the Super-Clean room Industry-Academia-Government Joint Research Building in the academic city of Tsukuba, Japan after the 2002 fiscal year.
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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