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Nanoimprint lithography


PhotonAix members developed a new EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography process.


PhotonAix members developed a new EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography process. This technique is suitable for manufacturing exceptionally small semiconductor structures, which are in demand for the chips used in ever more powerful PCs.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, the Chair for Laser Technology at RWTH Aachen, AIXUV GmbH all PhotonAix members and Philips Extrem UV GmbH were honored with the science prize of the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany, which carries a 50,000-euro endowment. The team of collaborating partners from science and industry won the award for their especially productive, close cooperation on the development of a new EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography process.

Ever since the earliest days of semiconductor manufacturing, chips have been made using a light exposure process. To fit more transistors onto a chip, the already tiny structures on the silicon wafers must be made successively smaller. Conventional optical lithography processes can go no farther than about 50 nanometers. The EUV lithography method achieves an extraordinary technological leap forward by employing radiation with a wavelength of only 13.5 nanometers. Because the extreme ultraviolet light used is absorbed by all materials even air the entire lithography process must take place in a vacuum. This technology now features on the roadmap of all semiconductor manufacturers, including INTEL, and involves the development of completely new light sources, optical components and photoresists.

For their EUV light source, the Aachen researchers working with the team assembled by Dr. Willi Neff employ an extremely hot plasma generated using hollow cathode gas discharge. An international comparative study revealed that the "Aachen lamp" achieved the best performance. The groundwork for the patented concept was carried out between 1997 and 2000 at the Fraunhofer ILT and the RWTH Chair for Laser Technology. In 2000, Dr. Rainer Lebert founded a spin-off company, AIXUV, which manufactures and markets compact EUV lab sources for use in research and EUV systems for metrology and quality control.

Christian Hinke
(Managing Director)
PhotonAix e.V.
Kompetenznetz Optische Technologien
Steinbachstr. 15
D-52074 Aachen

Phone: 0241 / 8906 352
Fax: 0241 /8906 121
eMail: hinke@photonaix.de



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