Cymer Qualifies New Light Source for Immersion Lithography Systems

Cymer, an industry leader in developing lithography light sources used by chipmakers to pattern advanced semiconductor chips, today announced its 7th generation light source, the new XLR 960ix, has been qualified on the ASML NXT:2050i scanner. It features new hardware advancements that improve process control, as well as increased availability, sustainability and productivity for leading-edge argon fluoride (ArF) immersion lithography systems.

“As chipmakers continue to extend the use of ArF immersion light sources alongside EUV light sources in a mix-and-match manufacturing environment, it becomes increasingly critical to meet the same process control requirements,” said David Knowles, vice president of product development group at Cymer. “The XLR 960ix design reduces speckle, a naturally occurring effect of the light source, to reduce linewidth roughness, which helps improve overall edge placement error.”

The XLR 960ix features a new Optical Pulse Stretcher that increases the pulse duration to reduce speckle by 30%, which subsequently improves local CDU. The light source inherently produces speckle, a form of self-interference that results in non-uniform light intensity and ultimately local dose variation when used to expose a wafer. By increasing the pulse duration via an optical technique called pulse stretching, speckle is reduced and leads to lower local dose variation, contributing to lower CD variation and higher yield.

In order to keep pace with chipmakers’ increasing wafer output, this light source also features a newly designed, 5th generation chamber module, allowing high volume fabs to run approximately one year between scheduled maintenance. This technology has been field-tested on Cymer’s existing ArF immersion systems for more than 12 months and is now being made available to Cymer’s customer base. Furthermore, the XLR 960ix includes technologies that increase availability via fewer automated calibration and gas refresh events, as well as sustainability improvements via lower power and gas consumption.

The XLR 960ix will be shipped to leading chipmakers in the third quarter of 2020. Strong demand for the latest-generation ArF immersion platform is driving one of the fastest production ramps in recent history to produce this new light source.



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