For R&D of EUV Optical Systems, Masks, Pellicles, Etc.

USHIO INC. (HQ: Tokyo; President and CEO: Kenji Hamashima) announced that first light* of an extreme ultra-violet (EUV) light source was achieved at a facility for the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (hereinafter “TNO”) on December 7, 2016.

The achievement is the result of a strategic partnership established between USHIO INC. and TNO in February of 2016 for the purpose of developing EUV technology. The objective was to make delivery by November 2016 and first light within the same year. The light source employs laser-assisted discharge-produced plasma (Sn LDP) and will be used by TNO in research into and development of EUV optical systems, masks, pellicles, etc. TNO will continue adjusting and tuning the facility equipped with the light source and plans to introduce various research and evaluation services for companies and organizations around the world by April of 2017.

Semiconductors hold the key to the growing IoT and automation technology of today, but further improvements in their performance and production are necessary for greater advancement. EUV lithography technology is indispensable in the manufacturing process of increasingly-miniaturized, next-generation semiconductors. Various manufacturers of lithography equipment have already announced the shipment of more than 10 different EUV lithography machines, with world-class device manufacturers carefully considering their implementation.

The practical application being advanced by USHIO INC. of light sources used to inspect high-precision masks is essential for establishing the EUV lithography process as a mass production technology, and the achievement made at this international research institute is an important milestone. USHIO INC. will continue to develop this recent technological achievement and contribute to the advancement of the semiconductor manufacturing process.

*The first light test is defined as: EUV light on a sample in the exposure chamber.

Photo: TNO’s exposure and analysis facility equipped with Ushio EUV light source