The big news from this conference, in my biased opinion, was the anticipated IMS report that the multi-beam mask writer built around the JEOL air bearing stage platform is running and meeting specifications. At ~ 15 hours per mask, IMS are seeing
LCDU 1.1 nm (3σ)
GCDU 2.1 nm (3σ)
Overlay 2.6 nm (3σ)
IMS expects to have the “beta” machine ready in later this year and production machines in 2016. These will run at 10 hours per mask. Everyone I spoke with was positively impressed by the IMS/JEOL collaboration.
With regard to e-beam direct write, we have all heard that KLA-Tencor shut down the REBL development. There is an effort underway to revive this program within another organization, yet to be chosen. Also, IMS seeks funding to develop and commercialize the direct write version of their technology.
For the moment, only MAPPER remains active in direct write. MAPPER reported on the “FLX-1200”, which is still using only the center section of the blanker. It was not clear to me whether this machine has 1352 beams or 1352 X 49 beams. In my opinion, MAPPER are at least one year away from reaching specifications at 1 wafer per hour. They have aligned 516 of 1352 beams (is this done one by one?). The optics still needs correction for telecentricity, additional range on certain alignment deflectors, and a field flattener. LER is measured at 4.5-6.0 nm. (LER is quite visible in the SEM images shown.) Beam to beam CDU is measured at ±3.8 nm. Along the scan, one-beam CDU is 2.5 nm (3σ). Interestingly, pressure in the writing chamber is ~10-4 Torr. I expect that they will discover a weak plasma forming around the beam.
In other direct write news, IMS are actively seeking funding to develop their direct write technology.