imec unveils world’s first 300mm fab compatible DSA process line

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imec has announced it has successfully implemented the world's first 300mm fab compatible Directed Self Assembly (DSA) process line under one roof.

Sited in imec's 300mm cleanroom fab, the upgrade of an academic lab scale DSA process flow to a fab compatible flow was realised in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, AZ Electronic Materials and Tokyo Electron. According to imec, the collaboration aims to address the critical hurdles to take DSA from the academic lab scale environment into high volume manufacturing. DSA is gaining momentum as a means for extending optical lithography beyond its current limits and is an alternative patterning technology that enables frequency multiplication through the use of block copolymers. When used in conjunction with an appropriate pre pattern that directs the orientation for patterning, DSA can reduce the pitch of the final printed structure. It can also be used to repair defects and repair uniformity in the original print - useful in combination with EUV lithography which is characterised by local variation in the critical dimension, especially in small contacts. Imec says it now has the complete toolset on site, including a specially configured DSA coater/developer manufactured by TEL with installed DSA materials in gallon size quantities, the metrology toolkit - including DSA defect inspection - and in house pattern transfer capabilities. With established 248nm, 193nm (dry and immersion) and EUV lithography tool sets in the 300mm cleanroom fab environment, imec believe it is uniquely positioned to study DSA defectivity and aims to increase the pattern reliability of DSA for semiconductor fab standards. The nanoelectronics firm also plans to further develop the possibilities of DSA repair in combination with EUV lithography, with a view ti bringing EUV Lithography to production level. Kurt Ronse, director of the Lithography Department at imec, said: "We are excited with this achievement, as this enables us to expand the scope of our research offering and toolset bringing more value to our partners. The availability of a DSA processing line enables us to further push the limits of 193nm immersion lithography and overcome some of the critical concerns for EUV lithography. This allows us to further push the limits of Moore's law." This research offering is part of imec's Advanced lithography programme, available to imec's partners in its core cmos programmes. Imec's key core cmos partners are Globalfoundries, Intel, Micron, Panasonic, Samsung, TSMC, Elpida, Hynix, Fujitsu and Sony. Caption: 14nm polystyrene lines on 28nm pitch after PMMA removal fabricated by DSA using 193nm immersion based 84nm pitch pre pattern (left) and demonstration of the ability to repair a 200nm gap in the pre pattern (right)