KLA-Tencor Introduces PROLITH(TM) 12 - A Computational Lithography Tool Aimed at EUV Lithography Challenges


Today KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC) introduced PROLITH(TM) 12, a new version of its industry-leading computational lithography tool. This new tool enables researchers at leading-edge chipmakers and consortia to cost-effectively explore the feasibility of various mask designs, photo materials and processes associated with Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography.

Shrinking the dimensions of critical device features on the chip enables fabs to produce faster microprocessors, but the wavelength of light used to expose the mask during patterning imposes a lower limit on the size of the features that can be created. The semiconductor industry has been using deep ultra-violet (DUV) light for the past several device generations. The next shorter wavelength regime is EUV. Experts have predicted that EUV lithography has the potential to create devices one hundred times faster than today's most powerful chips.

"While the industry roadmap lists EUV lithography as a potential technology for making semiconductor devices within a few years, there are several technical barriers to overcome," stated Ed Charrier, vice president and general manager of KLA-Tencor's Process Control Information Division. "Our new computational lithography tool, PROLITH 12, enables researchers to rigorously model the interactions of EUV light with the mask, patterning materials and processes, to predict the outcome of the pattern on the wafer. With PROLITH 12, researchers do not need access to experimental materials or prototype process equipment, and they do not need to go through the expensive and lengthy process of printing hundreds of test wafers."

A change in lithography wavelength has historically been a major undertaking, as new scanners, new photo materials and new masks have to be developed and tested. The shift to EUV lithography would introduce the novel challenge of having to pattern wafers using reflected light from opaque masks, because no known, practical mask materials are transparent to EUV light. This fundamental change introduces asymmetries to the pattern printed on the wafer. PROLITH 12 is designed to handle these and other challenges unique to EUV systems.

Available as an upgrade to the industry-leading PROLITH platform, PROLITH 12 is a key product in KLA-Tencor's portfolio of advanced lithography solutions. PROLITH 12 has been shipped to industry consortia and advanced memory manufacturers in the United States and Asia, where it is being used to help research engineers determine the feasibility of EUV lithography and map out the conditions under which EUV can be successful.

KLA-Tencor will showcase PROLITH(TM) 12 on Oct. 6-10 at the SPIE/BACUS Photomask USA 2008 Symposium -- booth No. 104 at the Marriott, in Monterey, California.

About KLA-Tencor:

KLA-Tencor Corporation is the world's leading supplier of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and related microelectronics industries. Headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., the company has sales and service offices around the world. An S&P 500 company, KLA-Tencor is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol KLAC. Additional information about the company is available at http://www.kla-tencor.com. (KLAC-P).

Forward Looking Statements:

Statements in this press release other than historical facts, such as statements regarding the anticipated technological shift to EUV lithography and PROLITH 12's ability to handle challenges related to this anticipated shift, are forward-looking statements, and are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current information and expectations, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in such statements due to various factors, including delays in the adoption of new technologies due to unanticipated cost or performance issues.

Source: KLA-Tencor Corporation