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What are the challenges facing EUV in high volume manufacturing?

Global demand for semiconductors is at an all-time high, our customers are focused on maximising output to meet demand and to get a good return on their sustainable investment. 

Edwards understands the need to maximise EUV uptime and throughput and are uniquely positioned, with more than 20 years of vacuum and abatement data and performance analytics, to help our customers achieve their productivity and sustainability targets.  

Supported by state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities & global service infrastructure, Edwards offers the total EUV solution whilst also creating environmental and social value not only for its customers but for all involved stakeholders. 

David Engerran, Global Product Manager – Integrated Systems, explores what the challenges are in EUV HVM and how Edwards is solving those challenges.

Video transcript below

What are the challenges of HVM EUV Lithography 

Global demand for semiconductors is at all time high, our customers are focussed on maximising output to meet demand and to get a good return on a sustainable investment. 

As we know Semiconductor manufacture takes several months with wafers passing through numerous process tools. 

The most advanced and one of the most strategic potential bottle neck tools in every fab is the lithography tools. Even more so now as to make the most advanced semiconductors EUV is required. 

EUV lithography allows manufacturers to continue the reduction of feature and device sizes that has defined progress in semiconductor manufacturing from its earliest days.

The overall throughput of the system is essentially fixed, so efforts to ensure ROI must focus on maximizing system availability, minimizing operating costs and reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes. 

Understanding the process challenge from a vacuum and abatement perspective is one key aspect in maximising availability. 

Shorter wavelength EUV illumination enables the creation of smaller features, but also makes the lithography system much more complex. 

EUV light is strongly absorbed by any matter and requires the use of precision reflective optics and vacuum containment of the entire beam path.

To ensure these critical optics remain free from contaminants, hydrogen is used in the EUV process to react with processes materials and remove them from the process tool and carry then to the vacuum system.

It is now here that vacuum and abatement system are then required to manage these high flows of hydrogen in a safe and effective manner. 

How is Edwards solving those challenges? 

The art of innovation lies in finding ways to ensure the safety of fab personnel, the surrounding community, and the environment, while also enhancing efficiency and reducing operating costs.

EUV uses a significant amount of hydrogen which creates a high focus on safety and environmental due to it’s flammable nature in air. 

Edwards EUV systems use vacuum pumps designed specifically for EUV process, incorporated traps to capture reacted compounds.

Entire system includes safety sensors to ensure no flammable mixture is present through the system. 

Traditionally use of fuel fired abatement systems have been used to burn the hydrogen downstream of the vacuum pumps, however this method requires significant energy and resources and requires ongoing maintenance.

Our new fuel free approach, moves away from fuel fired abatement and offers a safe dilution of the hydrogen to significantly below flammable range, whilst ensuring safety at all times, and vastly reduces energy requirements. 

Fortunately, hydrogen itself has no negative environmental impact. Once its concentration is below the minimum flammability level, it is quite safe.

Fuel-free hydrogen management relies on a keen understanding of flammability levels, dilution technologies and industry safety standards.

The critical operation is the dilution of hydrogen with air, a counterintuitive approach.

However, by keeping the critical path, where the mixture is flammable, very short and carefully monitored, the gas is quickly diluted to non-flammable concentrations that can be safely conveyed through the fab and released directly into the atmosphere.

Fuel-free hydrogen management eliminates the fuel cost and carbon emissions of controlled burning and the high cost of nitrogen for dilution. 

Supported by state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities & global service infrastructure, Edwards offers the total EUV solution whilst also ensuring to create environmental and social value not only for its customers but for all involved stakeholders. 

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