TSMC joins maskless litho research project

TSMC has decided to join French research institute CEA-Leti in an industrial programme that will work on multiple electron-beam lithography as an alternative to conventional mask-based lithography.

To run for three years, the Imagine programme will let companies assess a maskless lithography infrastructure for IC manufacturing based on a technique developed by Mapper Technology. TSMC has already taken a machine built by Mapper to perform its own investigation.

“TSMC is always pushing for cost-effective lithography and the development of maskless lithography is one of the potential solutions. We have already announced the joint steps with Mapper to explore multiple e-beam lithography for IC manufacturing at 22nm node and beyond,” said TSMC’s vice president of R&D, Jack Sun. “By joining the Imagine program at CEA-Leti, we intend to federate the semiconductor industry around this technology and accelerate its development and introduction for IC manufacturing.”

“A maskless approach can offer flexibility and gain in cost of ownership. Together with Mapper, we see a route towards industrial throughput,” said CEA-Leti CEO Laurent Malier. “Having TSMC on board the Imagine program is pivotal and will strengthen the assessment towards manufacturing. It shows the commitment in the technology from the industry and will take maskless lithography to the next step in the development that is required to make it a viable solution for 22nm manufacturing.”

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