The benefits of Extreme Ultra-Violet Lithography (EUVL) are clear. First and foremost, EUVL allows for higher resolution, in combination with a larger process window and design freedom, resulting in better performing chips. Secondly, EUVL presents significant cost savings as compared to immersion techniques with triple patterning. Industry leaders are already exploring the potential of this highly desirable innovation, and are seeking solutions to its very specific challenges. In addition, Next-Generation Lithography processes, like Maskless, e-beam and Direct Write Lithography, require specific and expert intervention to open up new product-market combinations. The movement towards 450mm wafers presents its own set of challenges. The larger wafers require new processes, and equipment cost control is a key concern. The equipment needed to support these techniques needs to be as precise and reliable as the chips they make.
By working directly with equipment manufacturers, TNO can apply our extensive knowledge of equipment and process development to improve modules and increase process efficiency. Our expertise in the overall system makes us uniquely qualified to address – and overcome – the challenges companies face on a modular level. For example, we have enabled better machine control through our work in sensor control mechanisms – offering higher precision than ever before possible. TNO relies heavily on infrastructure, creating tailor-made solutions for equipment and providing experimental validation. Our working prototypes are conceived, created, qualified, and delivered to equipment manufacturers, who are then able to produce our solutions on a larger scale for their own usage. Although our solutions are primarily modular, they have a significant impact on the entire production process, and bring companies much closer to their objectives.
A link in the chain
Our expertise comes from knowing our place in the process. We don't pretend to be experts in commercial production. Instead, we partner with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large module suppliers in the Netherlands and abroad to turn our solutions into reliable commercial components. These experts in Design for Manufacturing turn TNO's great concepts into workable products that can be produced on a mass scale and for the long term. TNO's partners focus on the production of reliable, cost-efficient replicas of our prototypes, to ensure that every copy made is as effective as our first design. Through these partnerships and integrated project teams, TNO ensures that our reputation for providing real-world solutions remains strong for years to come. Equipment manufacturers seeking to improve or accelerate innovations in Next-Generation Lithography equipment turn to TNO to solve the challenges they face.