The SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference was dominated this year by incremental progress. I paid most attention to the e-beam patterning sessions, running off for a few other interesting papers.
Possibly the most exciting development was Paper 7970-14, “Self-assembly patterning for sub-15 nm half-pitch”, reporting joint work from Applied Materials and IBM Almaden. Chris Bencher showed a directed self-assembly process which resulted in etched patterning on silicon wafers. Using polystyrene-block-polymethylmethacrylate pinned by patterned BARC, Mr Bencher showed chip-area, periodic patterns at very high resolution. Defectivity is acceptable for this point in the R&D effort, comparable to the early days of 193i R&D. Interestingly, the defects are mostly particles, not self-assembly errors (except adjoining the streets).
In e-beam, the REBL project appeared much more convincing this time around. [Paper 7970-43, “New advances with REBL for maskless, high-throughput EBDW lithography”] Paul Petric (KLA-Tencor) reported that beam down on column design #2 was due during the week of the conference. He reported some difficulties with getting a functional modulator assembly, but sounded optimistic that the difficulties would be resolved shortly. An architectural overview may be found in [J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 28, C6C6 (2010); doi:10.1116/1.3511436].