facebook
twitter
search
search

Nanowriter development progresses

Jan. 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A new method for fabrication of application-specific integrated circuits is moving closer under a program by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

DARPA said its Maskless Nanowriter program is developing a massively parallel, direct-write, electron-beam lithography tool with a write speed more than 100 times faster than current single-column eBeam tools.

If successful, the program will eliminate the need for expensive mask sets and will increase economic viability of small-lot production for custom, ASICs and micro-electromechanical systems.

The new Nanowriter tool is targeted at the 45-nm lithography node with technology scalable to 32 nm and beyond, the agency said.

DARPA said the program recently achieved two important milestones when it demonstrated a micro-lens array to pattern a beam into 1 million electron beamlets and showed a second-generation eBeam column designed to significantly reduce pattern blur.

Lithography is currently performed by inserting a complex mask between a deep, ultraviolet light source and a silicon wafer, projecting a circuit pattern onto the wafer. High throughput in direct-write lithography is difficult to achieve since each feature is written serially as opposed to conventional lithography, in which millions of features are written in parallel. In this new high-throughput maskless tool, high throughput is achieved through the simultaneous deployment of 1 million parallel electron beamlets.

"As feature sizes on integrated circuits have decreased to below 65 nanometers, the cost of these mask sets has become an overriding factor for small-lot fabrication of only a few wafers," said Joseph Mangano, DARPA program manager. "By eliminating expensive mask sets, the Nanowriter tool will provide the cost benefits of large-scale IC manufacturing in quantities of one wafer."

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Ford recalls 432,000 North American vehicles over software bug
Aetna to acquire Humana for $37 billion in cash, stocks
New Zealand military receives medium heavy military trucks
BBC to lay off 1,000 people to make up for $234M in lost revenue
U.S. proposes tighter pipeline spill rules