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Project Brief

Semiconductor Nanocrystal Based R-CEL

Develop a unique, reversible, photo-bleachable material for double patterning of wafers that could enable a new generation of photolithography for the semiconductor industry.

Sponsor: Pixelligent Technologies LLC

387 Technology Dr. Ste 3122
College Park, MD 20742
  • Project Performance Period: 11/1/2007 - 10/31/2009
  • Total project (est.): $2,400,000.00
  • Requested ATP funds: $2,000,000.00

Pixelligent Technologies has proposed the development of a unique, reversible, photo-bleachable material that could enable a new generation of photolithography for the semiconductor industry. The progressive shrinking of features in integrated circuits has been a driving factor in the "Moore's Law" phenomenon of ever smaller, faster, cheaper chips. It has been due, in large part, to a series of innovations in lithography that has made it possible for photolithographic equipment using light at a wavelength of 193 nanometers to reliably image circuit features far smaller than the wavelength, with the current state of the art being about 65 nm minimum feature size. The next step down in size will require even more complicated tricks. One approach, called double patterning, involves making two separate exposures using two slightly offset patterns to image features much smaller than would be optically possible with a single exposure. The process is extremely complicated and error-prone in part because of the need to remove and reposition the wafer between exposures. Pixelligent's approach is to add a "reversible contrast enhancement layer" (R-CEL) that can be selectively bleached in one pattern to allow the lithography light to go through, reversed to an opaque state, and then rebleached for the second stage pattern. The application of R-CEL could extend the existing optical lithography infrastructure down to 32 nm technology and beyond, while reducing lithography operating costs by eliminating extra steps and overlay errors associated with the conventional double patterning process.

For project information:
Gregory Cooper, (301) 405-9284

ATP Project Manager
Purabi Mazumdar, (301) 975-4891

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