Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
© lavitreiu-dreamstime.com General | March 25, 2014

Collaboration yields ever smaller chip features

The ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology business group and the Institut für Mikroelektronik Stuttgart (IMS CHIPS) are working together on the development of nanopatterned optical components.
These components make it possible to shrink feature sizes on chips in order to make them even smaller, less expensive, more powerful, and more energy-efficient. IMS CHIPS develops key elements of these nanometer optics. However, the challenge of continuously shrinking feature sizes requires ever bulkier and more expensive equipment, which is why IMS CHIPS decided to invest in a next-generation electron beam writer. The funding of this high-tech equipment was only made possible thanks to a collaborative research agreement between ZEISS and IMS CHIPS. Financial support was provided both by the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and ZEISS.

IMS CHIPS and ZEISS have been working together since 2002. The institute helps transfer research and development results into industrial applications. The new writer at IMS CHIPS provides the basis for continuing this successful collaboration while also ensuring that the SME partners and customers of IMS CHIPS can continue to enjoy the most advanced patterning technology for their development requirements.

"Our primary expertise lies in nanopatterning for a wide range of applications as well as investigating and developing new methods of fabricating ICs. Having ZEISS as a partner enables us to exploit the special technological capabilities we have in Stuttgart to develop products designed for industrial use," says Dr. Joachim Burghartz, Director and Chairman of the Board at IMS CHIPS. "The powerful electron beam lithography system enables us to apply highly complex microstructures to a wide variety of substrates with nanometer precision." Both partners are very pleased with the high levels of precision and the success that has already been achieved. A comparison on a macroscopic scale provides a useful illustration of the degree of accuracy and resolution required to produce nanopatterned components: If the surface were as large as the entire federal state of Baden-Württemberg, the machine would be capable of generating a feature the size of a coin with a positioning accuracy of just 3 millimeters!

The use of such high-precision lithography systems enables ZEISS to develop and enhance the manufacturing processes for the highly complex lithography optics that are used in machines known as wafer scanners. Wafer scanners are one of the most important elements in the chip fabrication process. Dr. Andreas Dorsel, Member of the Board of Management of Carl Zeiss SMT, also sees valuable potential in establishing links between industry and the research community. "IMS CHIPS conducts applied, results-oriented research. Its world-class technological capabilities in the field of nanopatterning make IMS CHIPS a key technology partner in our efforts to develop ultra-sophisticated optical components. Our highly successful cooperation enables us to jointly put innovative ideas for the semiconductor industry into practice."

Winfried Kaiser, Senior Vice President of Product Strategy for Lithography Optics at ZEISS underlines the importance of this kind of collaboration: "Collaborative projects like this enable us to transfer research findings into our technology and process development work and, ultimately, into new products. We benefit in two ways: first, from the extensive skills IMS CHIPS possesses in a wide range of applications and, second, from the transfer of knowledge and technology fueled by the institute's close ties with other companies."

Dr. Hendrik Seliger, who heads up Supply Chain Management in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology business group, sums up the success of the venture so far: "We work together very closely – and that bond has only strengthened as the years have gone by. IMS CHIPS has demonstrated a tremendous willingness to support us and to respond enthusiastically and flexibly to our requirements. That's absolutely crucial in a constantly evolving business such as ours." Dr. Mathias Irmscher, Head of the Nanopatterning Business Unit at IMS CHIPS, is equally pleased with the results: "We enjoy close and highly constructive cooperation with ZEISS. Our staff members understand the critical importance of the components that we develop for ZEISS and are committed to achieving maximum quality.
Ad
Ad
Load more news
December 13 2018 1:08 pm V11.10.14-2