Toppan and IBM to jointly research on EUV Photomasks for 2 nm semiconductor fabs

Date: 07/02/2024
With the two leading semiconductor fab companies Intel, and Samsung moving to High NA EUV photolithography to fabricate 2 nm semiconductor chips, the other supported tools need to be also developed to withstand and support EUV light, mainly photomasks.

The photomasks, the stencil-like structures for light used in printing on semiconductor wafers do need to withstand the powerfull light in EUV range and also take care of diffraction and other optical issues.
photo mask

The leading photomask maker Toppan Photomasks has announced that it has entered into a joint research and development agreement with IBM related to the 2 nanometer (nm) logic semiconductor node, using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. This agreement also includes High-NA EUV photomask development capability on next-generation semiconductors. Based on this agreement, for a period of five years starting 1Q 2024, IBM and Toppan Photomask plan to develop photomask capability at the Albany NanoTech Complex (Albany, NY, USA) and Toppan Photomask's Asaka Plant (Niiza, Japan).

Both IBM and TOPPAN Photomasks have a history of working together in developing advanced photomasks for nodes such as 45nm, 32nm, 22/20nm, and 14nm nodes during the period of 2005 to 2015, making both the companies to have expertise in this domain and apply that to EUV lithography.

The Toppan Photomask is into development of masks and substrate material for EUV lithography by using advanced multibeam lithography equipment, where Toppan photomask has installed several of these systems.

Teruo Ninomiya, President and CEO at Toppan Photomask, said, "Our cooperation with IBM is very important for both companies. This agreement will play a crucial role in supporting semiconductor miniaturization, promoting the advancement of the industry, and contributing to the growth of Japan's semiconductor sector. We are truly honored to have been selected as a partner based on a comprehensive evaluation of our technological capabilities and cost competitiveness, and we are committed to accelerating the realization of miniaturization for 2nm and beyond.

Huiming Bu, VP of Global Semiconductor R&D at IBM, said, "New photomask capabilities using EUV and High-NA EUV lithography systems will likely play a critical role in designing and producing semiconductor technologies at the 2nm node and beyond. Our collaboration with Toppan Photomask aims to accelerate innovations in advanced logic scaling through the development of new solutions to enable advanced foundry manufacturing capabilities, a critical part of the semiconductor supply chain in Japan."