Several equipment suppliers are proposing new architectures for mask patterning. These approaches share the characteristic of some level of parallelism to solve the throughput challenge caused by increasing mask pattern complexity. Although parallelism is a proven approach in laser mask writers, it has not been integrated into an e-beam platform. All of the approaches for multibeam e-beam architectures have unique technical difficulties. In some cases, suppliers have produced proof of concept results to demonstrate the feasibility of their approach and address key technical risks. Although these results are encouraging, it is clear that they need more time and industry assistance to produce a commercially worthy mask writer.
Key drivers will be considered. Proposed evolutionary extensions of the current architecture will be evaluated. The need for revolutionary architectures to satisfy future mask patterning will be explored.