Lucent in link with chip litho groups

Lucent in link with chip litho groups
Steve Bush Two chip-making equipment companies are to collaborate with Lucent Technologies to bring its sub-0.1?m lithograph process to market. The companies are Applied Material of the US and Dutch ASML, both front rank lithography equipment makers. “They have agreed to join us to advance the development of Scalpel technology,” said Lloyd Harriott, Scalpel programme manager at Lucent’s Bell Labs. Although Lucent is already working with other companies for mask and photoresist technology for Scalpel, this is the first time it has brought in partners to develop a stepper for the process. In addition to development help, Lucent is getting credibility. “It makes the idea of Scalpel becoming a commercial product more obvious,” said Harriott. It is likely that ASML and Applied will in future gain favourable licensing terms as a result of the collaboration, although Lucent is saying nothing on the subject. Scalpel is an electron beam technology, but unlike the slow ‘direct-write’ e-beam process, Scalpel uses masks similar to those used in optical lithography. It promises to yield chip features under 50nm at production speeds. The first prototype machines are expected in two to three years time. The industry expects the first commercial chips with 0.1?m features in 2006.


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