ASML MaskTools to showcase innovative 70 nm-enabling technology

Press release - Santa Clara, California, February 28, 2002

ASML MaskTools, Inc. ('MaskTools') will present detailed information on an innovative, extremely high transmission, phase shift technology at this year's SPIE Microlithography Symposium. This technology, known as Chromeless Phase Lithography (CPL), is designed to be a primary enabler for lithography at 70 nm and below. It uses a set of patented techniques and custom software to produce advanced photomasks using extremely high transmission rates, enabling very low k1 imaging. MaskTools is working with some of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers to adopt this technology as a 70 nm production solution. So far, CPL results have indicated that depth of focus greater than 400 nm is achievable for contacts and dense lines at the 70 nm node. CPL technology is a key part of the company's technical presence at the 2002 SPIE Microlithography Symposium, held March 3–8 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.


Resolution enhancement techniques such as phase shift masks (PSM), optical proximity correction (OPC) and off-axis illumination (OAI) enabled the extension of optical lithography beyond what was believed to be its limit as recently as a few years ago. These techniques allow lithographers to print wafers with feature sizes smaller than the wavelength of light used to expose them. However, in order to meet the demands of the next generation of semiconductors, the industry will have to adopt new technologies such as CPL, which require new lithography software and mask design strategies.


"Chromeless phase lithography is an emerging technology that will enable the semiconductor industry to extend optical lithography beyond what can be achieved with today's resolution enhancement techniques," said Dinesh Bettadapur, president and CEO of MaskTools. "During the SPIE Microlithography Symposium, we will provide details of this technology and present some very promising wafer imaging results."


At the 2002 SPIE Microlithography Symposium, MaskTools and its partners are presenting a total of 12 papers and posters. The presentations cover a number of potential solutions addressing some of the toughest issues facing lithographers today.

About ASML

ASML is one of the world's leading providers of advanced technology systems for the semiconductor industry. The company offers an integrated portfolio of lithography, track and thermal systems mainly for manufacturing complex integrated circuits. Headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, ASML is traded on Euronext Amsterdam and Nasdaq under the symbol 'ASML'. In 2001, the company reported net sales of over $1.8 billion. ASML employs approximately 7,000 people in 50 locations throughout the world.

About ASML MaskTools

MaskTools, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ASML based in Santa Clara, California. The company offers leading-edge optical extension technologies and products to the semiconductor industry. Core products include MaskRigger for full-chip OPC mask generation, and LithoCruiser for lithography process analysis and optimization. As optical lithography continues to be used for volume IC manufacturing below the wavelength of the exposure light source, these technologies enhance the photolithography process latitude thereby improving integrated circuit yields in manufacturing.

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