Infineon Technologies and Clariant Corporation’s AZ Electronic Materials business, Somerville, NJ, have signed an agreement to jointly develop photoresists for 157nm exposure technology. The goal is to accelerate qualification of this technology for volume production.
The photoresist materials to be developed in this project will specifically enable Infineon to qualify the 157nm technology for producing 55nm structures in DRAM (dynamic random access memory) semiconductor chip production.
The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, which describes the technology and materials needed for future chip generations, predicts that 55nm structures will be in volume production beginning in 2007.
One of the mainstream candidate technologies for achieving these dimensions is 157nm lithography, a technology that uses fluorine molecular lasers emitting at the vacuum ultraviolet wavelength of 157nm.
To accelerate the photoresist development work, the companies will draw upon their joint chemical research and development capabilities and use Infineon’s most advanced lithographic equipment in Dresden, Germany.
Photoresists are light-sensitive materials that define the small patterns on the various layers of an integrated circuit. Currently lithography at the 193nm wavelength of light is entering volume production.
The 193nm wavelength has been introduced at Infineon to define sub-130nm patterns. The157nm wavelength is predicted to be the final usable optical wavelength. It is also predicted that non-optical ‘Next Generation Lithography’ methods will be needed to produce even smaller structures.