Imec News

Archive 2002

Major Progress Reported in 157nm Lithography


No Showstoppers Remain, Global Symposium Concludes 

LEUVEN, BELGIUM – 19 September 2002 – All major obstacles to manufacturing 157nm optical lithography have been overcome, and the industry is planning for insertion of 157nm lithography at the 65nm node, according to industry experts attending the Third International Symposium on 157nm  Lithography, held in Antwerp, Belgium. 

“Although very significant engineering challenges remain, it is believed that the developments are on track targeting insertion in manufacturing,” said Luc Van den hove, general Chair of the 2002 157nm symposium, and vice president of Silicon Process and Device Technology at IMEC. “All major showstoppers have been removed.”

Moreover, said Tony Yen, Symposium co-chair and a director of Lithography at International SEMATECH (ISMT), “All lens designs for the first-generation 157nm exposure tools have now been fixed, and suppliers’ commitment to deliver the first 157nm scanners in 2004 is highly encouraging.”  These machines will accommodate the use of hard as well as soft pellicles.

The meeting was held September 3 through 6, and was organized by IMEC and International SEMATECH in cooperation with SELETE, the Japanese chip consortium. Nearly 240 representatives from worldwide chipmakers, tool and materials suppliers, consortia, universities, laboratories, and research groups attended the symposium.  

Other results of the conference include the following breakthroughs:

  • Over the last year, major progress has been achieved in resist technology. Resists with increased transparency and improved imaging characteristics have been reported. Further work remains on the integration of these new chemistries to provide resists with resolution and thickness needed for 65nm manufacturing.
  • Leading exposure toolmakers continue to plan for the shipment of first 157nm scanners before the end of 2004. The problem of intrinsic birefringence of CaF2, as reported by NIST in May 2001 (study sponsored by International SEMATECH), has been solved by using a combination of lens elements made from <111> and <100> crystals, resulting in negligible net birefringence effects. <111> and champion <100> lens blanks have met required specifications.
  • The viability of fused silica hard pellicles has been demonstrated. While hard pellicles can be the solution for high-volume manufacturing of DRAM or logic devices where increased pellicle cost is averaged over many wafers, soft pellicles are still preferred for low-volume devices like ASICs. ISMT has launched a project involving several universities to study the mechanism of photo-chemical darkening that will lead to polymer materials capable of withstanding 157nm radiation.

The next worldwide 157nm forum  -- the 4th International Symposium on 157nm Lithography – will be held in Yokohama, Japan in August of 2003 and will be organized by Selete and International SEMATECH in cooperation with IMEC.

About IMEC

IMEC was founded in 1984 and today is Europe’s largest independent research center in the field of microelectronics, nanotechnology, enabling design methods and technologies for ICT systems. IMEC's activities concentrate on the design technology for integrated information and communication systems; silicon process technology; silicon technology and device integration; nanotechnology, microsystems, components and packaging; solar cells; and advanced training in microelectronics. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has a staff of more than 1200 people including over 350 industrial residents and guest researchers. IMEC has a 0.13µm 200mm pilot line and is ISO9001 certified. Its revenue of more than 120Meuro is derived from agreements and contracts with the Flemish government and companies, the EC, MEDEA+, the European Space Agency, equipment and material suppliers, and semiconductor and system-oriented companies worldwide. News from IMEC is located at

About International Sematech

International SEMATECH (ISMT) is a global semiconductor technology development consortium that has effectively represented the semiconductor manufacturing industry on innovation issues since 1988; its members are Agere Systems, AMD,  Hewlett- Packard, Hynix, IBM, Infineon, Intel, Motorola, Philips, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and TSMC.   ISMT conducts state-of-the-art research, and is a highly regarded technology partner whose mission is to promote the interests common to all chipmakers.  It has extensive experience collaborating with equipment and materials suppliers, as well as government and academic research centers, to refine the tools and technology necessary to produce future generations of chips.  Additional information may be found at

For more information:

Katrien Marent

Corporate Communication Manager

IMEC, Kapeldreef 75

B- 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Tel +32 16 28 18 80 Fax +32 16 28 16 37


Judith Curtis

International Sematech

Tel +1 512 356 3343


Back to overview