TOKYO, February 14, 2014Canon Inc. ("Canon"; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; Chairman, President and CEO: Fujio Mitarai;) and Molecular Imprints, Inc. ("MII"; Headquarters: Austin, Texas, U.S.A.; CEO: Mark Melliar-Smith) today announced that the two companies reached an agreement on February 5 under which MII would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon. Through the acquisition, Canon aims to firmly establish a position within the industry for its next-generation semiconductor lithography systems supporting the miniaturization of electronic features.
Under Phase IV of its Excellent Global Corporation Plan, a five-year initiative launched in 2011, Canon aims to continue achieving growth through the pursuit of change. As a key strategy toward this goal, the Company is working to develop new business through globalized diversification and further establish its Three Regional Headquarters management system. Selecting MII as a partner with which to strengthen its industrial equipment segment, Canon decided to acquire MII.
Targeting the early commercialization of next-generation lithography systems
Canon currently manufactures and markets seven popular models of semiconductor lithography systems that employ KrF excimer laser and i-line illumination sources. The Company, however, has yet to enter the market for lithography equipment for leading-edge high-resolution patterning.
In 2004, Canon began conducting research into nanoimprint technology to realize sub-20nm* high-resolution processes toward the development of next-generation semiconductor lithography systems. Since 2009, targeting the mass production of such systems, the Company has been carrying out joint development with MII and a major semiconductor manufacturer.
The lithography systems employing this technology offer such benefits as high-resolution performance, exceptional alignment accuracy and low cost. While particularly well suited for the production of memory devices, as they offer future potential for the production of logic devices, they are viewed as a future candidate for next-generation lithography systems capable of realizing the sub-20nm node.
Having established an outlook for the volume production of lithography systems employing this technology, Canon decided to make MII part of the Canon Group as MII is a world leader in the nanoimprint technology sector in terms of technological strength and the number of patents registered. Aiming to realize an early market entry through the accelerated development of next-generation semiconductor lithography systems capable of achieving reduced process geometries, Canon seeks to not only firmly establish the Company within the semiconductor lithography equipment sector, but also contribute to the revitalization and expansion of the electronics market.
Overview of Molecular Imprints, Inc.
Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII), based in the United States, is the technology leader for high-resolution, low cost-of-ownership nanopatterning systems and solutions in the semiconductor, display and hard disk drive (HDD) industries.
About nanoimprint lithography
Unlike conventional optical lithographic approaches, nanoimprint lithography fabricates nanometer-scale patterns by bringing the nano-pattern mold into direct contact with the resist material on the substrate surface.