24 September 2010 Cost/benefit assessment of maskless lithography
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Direct writing of patterns onto silicon wafers in production has been a goal of many in the semiconductor industry for over four decades, but the low throughput of available or projected maskless tools relative to available masked optical tools at any point in time has always led to the conclusion that maskless lithography is not cost competitive. However a complete assessment of cost versus benefit for maskless lithography is much more complex than a simple tool-level comparison of lithography cost for a given semiconductor technology node. There are many different maskless tool implementation manufacturing strategies, and in each one not only does the cost of wafer processing including masks need to be considered, but also the relative impact of maskless lithography on manufacturing methodology, yields, and cycle times, potential design rule improvements relative to maskless optical schemes at any given semiconductor generation node, and potential reduction in new product development time. In this paper a recently published economic model for maskless lithography implementation in production is extended to include these other issues in addition to comparative wafer manufacturing cost. While lack of maskless lithography production data limits the conclusions that can be drawn, the assessment does indicate that depending on its printing performance specifications maskless tools can be designed to be cost-effective in production for today's processes even if the maskless tool has throughputs much smaller than masked optical systems, perhaps even as low as a few wafers per hour.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
C. Neil Berglund, C. Neil Berglund, "Cost/benefit assessment of maskless lithography", Proc. SPIE 7823, Photomask Technology 2010, 782318 (24 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.868482; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.868482


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