Nuclear fusion research aids EUV source breakthrough

5th July 2012 Peter Clarke A University of Washington laboratory that has been working for more than a decade on nuclear fusion as a source of energy, thinks it has leapfrogged ahead of companies trying to create a viable light…

5th July 2012

Peter Clarke

A University of Washington laboratory that has been working for more than a decade on nuclear fusion as a source of energy, thinks it has leapfrogged ahead of companies trying to create a viable light source for extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV).

Zplasma Inc. (Seattle, Wash.) will be competing with such firms as Cymer Inc., Xtreme Technologies GmbH and Gigaophoton Inc. but reckons that with a 1,000 times improvement in output energy it can easily provide the source power to make EUV lithography machine throughputs viable.

The principle methods used currently are discharged-produced or laser produced plasmas of xenon or tin (DPP or LPP) but both consume large amounts of energy. More importantly neither has reached the 100- or 200-watts power level at the intermediate focus needed to get 60 to 125 wafers per hour throughput from a EUV lithography machine, such as the NXE:3300B from ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands).

“We’re able to produce that light with enough power that it can be used to manufacture microchips,” said Uri Shumlak, a UoW professor of aeronautics and astronautics, in a report on the University of Washington website.