Applied Explains: Photomask Technology for the EUV Era

Photomasks, as regular readers of this blog may recall, are the blueprints used for making chips. The photolithography process prints the patterns etched on the mask onto silicon wafers to define transistors, memory cells and wiring – all the nanoscale structures that make up a functional device.

Lithography is expected to undergo a seismic shift over the next few years as the industry adopts a new technology called extreme ultraviolet lithography, or EUV for short. This change requires a new generation of photomasks featuring new materials and operating principles.

In this video, Madhavi Chandrachood, the head of photomask etch technology at Applied Materials, uses a decidedly low-tech piece of office equipment to demonstrate how both conventional and the new EUV masks work and how they are made.

Madhavi’s group has just launched a new system specifically for fabricating EUV masks, called (take a deep breath) the Applied Centura Tetra EUV Photomask Etch System.

Virtually every advanced chip is made using photomasks made on Tetra systems and now the newest member of the family is producing excellent results at a number of leading mask makers. We’re confident that the Tetra platform will remain the industry standard for multiple generations of semiconductor devices in the future.

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