Mask and Reticle Technology Development for Advanced High-Density and ASIC Devices


Project 5014

Keywords masks, reticles, mask-shops, data management, plasma etching, particle detection, pellicles


Start Date: 01-JAN-90 / Duration: 36 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives and Approach

The purpose of the project was to develop the essential mask and reticle technology required for advanced high-density and fast turn-round ASIC requirements to a device complexity level equivalent to 16 MDRAM. The results include new materials, processes and equipment which will make a significant contribution to the ability of the European semiconductor industry to manufacture advanced devices.

Results

The project was divided into five main work-packages, which are listed below with the progress achieved in each one:

Data Management and CAM

The SEMI Standard 1873 (Data Structure for Photomask Order Entry) has been adopted by all the partners.

Software has been created allowing input data to be processed to order-level status without human intervention.

High-speed data transfer and processing techniques have been implemented, greatly improving work efficiency and data integrity (about a four-fold speed advantage with no corruption problems).

Key blocks for a modular CAM system have been created and implemented, aiming for efficient, automated manufacturing control.

Chrome Substrate Technology

Evaluating available substrate sources on a world scale to determine the optimum supply for quality and performance.

Technology developed to reduce charge accumulation during electron-beam pattern generation.

Surface treatments developed to eliminate pinholes and reduce other levels of imperfection.

New materials identified and spin-coated to replace standard PBS-based electron-beam resist, with its inherent limitations.

Laser Particle Detection

Analysis of far-field scattering from small particles (down to 0.3 micron) completed. Far-field scattering has been found to be isotropic.

Novel dark-field detector system designed and patent application submitted: prototype evaluated.

Particle detector performance measurement techniques developed, including design of a suitable test structure.

Performance of prototype system compared against other commercially available systems (in terms of speed and accuracy).

Pellicle Technology Development

Methods developed for mixing and filtering polymers suitable for g-line, i-line and deep UV pellicles.

European pellicle manufacturing capability established for both broad and narrow spectral range pellicles.

Pellicles fabricated from novel materials and now being evaluated to determine optimum performance.

Frame adhesives and hermiticity of the cavity determined to be the critical performance issue.

A pellicle cleaning process has been developed. 95% of contamined pellicles can now be cleaned and do not have to be replaced.

Reticle Cleaning Technology Development

Factors determining the effectiveness of the cleaning process have been identified.

An improved fully automatic European mask plate cleaner has been installed at two of the project partners' sites.

Sources of contamination, including cleaning chemistry residues such as long-term crystal growth, have been identified and removed.

Development of the optimum cleaning process chemistry (ie economy and effectiveness) accomplished.

Exploitation

As this project provides the necessary photomask and reticle technology essential for the next generation of semiconductor devices, it supported other ESPRIT R&D, such as the excimer laser stepper developed in project 2048, which required the special short-wavelength reticles and pellicles being developed here. Improvements in the CAD and data management techniques resulted in a faster turnaround time and reduced susceptibility to data errors. The development of appropriate cleaning technology was essential to remove the contamination that inevitably builds up during use.

The three mask houses have achieved full 3.5 micron geometry reticle capability (0.7 micron geometry in the wafer after 5-fold reduction), which is being exploited commercially.


CONTACT POINT

Mr C.F. Leece
COMPUGRAPHICS INTERNATIONAL LTD
Eastfield Industrial Estate
UK - GLENROTHES KY7 4NT
tel: + 44/ 592-772557
fax: + 44/ 592-775359
telex: 72586

Participants

COMPUGRAPHICS INTERNATIONAL LTD - UK - C
POLYMER LABORATORIES LTD - UK - P
SIEMENS AG -
SEMICONDUCTOR GROUP - D - P
WILD LEITZ INSTRUMENTS GMBH - D - P
VALVO UNTERNEHMENSBEREICH - D - P
SEMISYSTEMS AG - CH - P
IMEC VZW - B - P


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Project 5014, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook