UMC claims to be the first foundry to use chromeless (Cr-less) phase-shift mask technology for functional customer products at the 90nm node. Due to the excellent results, UMC says it is also considering 193nm Cr-less phase-shift mask technology for migration to the 65nm generation.
Nikon has completed capability studies on fundamental technologies related to immersion lithography. The feasibility studies have taken half a year. The company says that it has found no showstopper that might prevent the technology’s realisation.
A judgment invalidating five of six claims in Soitec's primary Smart-Cut US patent (No.5,374,564) has been affirmed by a US federal appeal court. However, the appeal court specifically upheld the finding that the defendant SiGen infringed a key claim of the patent as well as the award to Soitec of close to $5mn million in damages (including running interest) for the infringement. The original verdict came from the Massachusetts US district court on April 1, 2002.
Soitec is expanding manufacturing capabilities of strained silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers. Specifically, the company is installing epitaxial equipment in its pilot line facility and a full Smart Cut strained-silicon germanium-on-insulator (SGOI) and strained-silicon-on-insulator (sSOI) manufacturing line at its Bernin II site in France.
ASML Holding expects its order backlog at December 31, 2003, to be greater than its previously disclosed order backlog of 91 systems as of September 28, 2003. The company bases this on customer orders as of December 1, 2003, and anticipated system shipments through to year-end. At the time of its Q3 2003 results, ASML had said that backlog could decline in Q4 2003.
SEMI issued its Capital Equipment Consensus Forecast. For this year, sales are expected to reach $21.3bn, up 8.20% from last year’s $19.75. More speculatively, the consensus gives figures for 2004-2006: $29.62bn (+38.61%), $35.00bn (+18.16%) and $32.68bn (-6.63%).
ASML claims the industry's first immersion lithography system – the Twinscan XT:1250i – a 0.85 numerical aperture (NA), 193nm pre-production lithography scanner. ASML has already booked a customer order from TSMC for the XT:1250i with initial delivery set for Q3 2004.
Scientists at Philips Research have made organic field-effect transistors that conduct both positive holes and negative electrons within a single sheet of material. The company believes that the discovery enables the design of robust digital circuits with low power dissipation and high product yield. Philips scientist Dr Eduard Meijer (pictured) recently received the Else Kooi award for his PhD research that led to the discovery.
German microsystem foundry microFAB Bremen has ordered a complete micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) process line from SUSS MicroTec. Some of microFAB's key products include high quality MEMS based silicon microphones for hearing aids and mobile phones.
Intel reports that it has built fully functional 4Mbit static random access memory (SRAM) chips using 65nm process technology – the company’s next generation high-volume semiconductor manufacturing process. Intel says it is on track to be the first put this process into production in 2005 using 300mm wafers.
Philips Electronics and Jilin Sino-Microelectronics (JSMC) in China established a joint venture to develop, design and manufacture bipolar power products to be marketed and sold by the parent companies. Financial details were not disclosed.
Soisic, a semiconductor intellectual property (SIP) company specialising in silicon on insulator (SOI) designs, has completed series-B funding round of EUR12.5mn led by Atlas Venture. The round also included co-investments from KT Venture and all existing investors. These include CEA Valorisation SA, a subsidiary of the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA), the French public technological research organisation and SOI wafer manufacturer Soitec.
KLA-Tencor and Soitec have entered a joint programme to improve the quality, yield and cost of production of the silicon on insulator (SOI) wafers used in high-performance, low-power-consumption IC applications.
Tokyo Electron (TEL) and ASML Holding agreed to enhance litho-cluster productivity and process performance through joint development programmes. Multiple tool exchanges in early 2004 will be used to facilitate customer demonstrations in Japan, the Netherlands and the USA. Litho-cluster describes the linking of coater/developer and lithography systems used in semiconductor manufacturing.
Spanish researchers have created a new ultra-light transparent magnetic material (Applied Physics Letters, Vol.82, pp.4307-4309). The scientists come from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB), the Institut de Cienca de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) and the Universidad de Zaragoza.
ASM International has shipped a Levitor 4000 rapid thermal processing (RTP) system for 200mm wafers to a "leading device maker in Europe". The European customer will use the tool to develop implant anneals for 90nm processing and NiSi annealing applications in the 200-550C temperature range for future technology nodes.
Japanese company Showa Denko (SDK) plans to market in early 2004 a hexafluoro-1,3-butadiene (C4F6) dry etching gas it has developed in Russia. C4F6 enables dry etching at a line width of as narrow as 90nm or less. SDK will import crude C4F6 produced in commercial quantities in Russia for purification at SDK's Kawasaki plant. SDK will then provide the quality assured product to the market.