01 TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY AND CHALLENGES FOR MAKING SEMICONDUCTORS AND DISPLAYS INDISPENSABLE IN OUR LIVING 01 TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY AND CHALLENGES FOR MAKING SEMICONDUCTORS AND DISPLAYS INDISPENSABLE IN OUR LIVING

  • LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT SEMICONDUCTOR LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT PROJECTION OPTICAL SYSTEM AND STAGE LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT SEMICONDUCTOR LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT PROJECTION OPTICAL SYSTEM AND STAGE
  • FPD LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT FPD LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT FPD LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT FPD LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT MIRROR CATOPTRIC SYSTEM AND STAGE FPD LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT FPD LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT FPD LITHOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT MIRROR CATOPTRIC SYSTEM AND STAGE
  • NANOIMPRINT LITHOGRAPHY NANOIMPRINT LITHOGRAPHY NANOIMPRINT LITHOGRAPHY RESIST JETTING AND MASK IMPRINTING FOR NANOIMPRINT LITHOGRAPHY NANOIMPRINT LITHOGRAPHY NANOIMPRINT LITHOGRAPHY RESIST JETTING AND MASK IMPRINTING FOR NANOIMPRINT LITHOGRAPHY

Lithography equipment
enriches daily living

Think about smartphones — how far these have come in just 10 years. This rapid evolution is largely due to semiconductor devices. Now, a small smartphone holds an enormous array of
millimeter-square semiconductor chips, filled with nanometer-scale circuits that operate a wealth of functions. Semiconductor lithography equipment plays the indispensable role in creating such smart semiconductor devices.

Semiconductor
In general, this refers to semiconductor electronic components and ICs or LSIs incorporating materials originally made of silicon.
Semiconductor lithography equipment
Apparatus for exposing and transferring a circuit pattern onto a substrate (wafer) that becomes the foundation of a semiconductor device.

Exposure

Reticle

Reticle stage

Projection
optical
system

Wafer

Wafer stage

Reticle
An original plate where a semiconductor circuit pattern is drawn. The pattern on the reticle is miniaturized by the lens and projected onto the wafer.
Reticle stage
The platform where a reticle is placed. It moves at high speed with high accuracy to synchronize with the motion of the wafer stage.
Wafer
A semiconductor substrate generally made of single crystal silicon.
Wafer stage
The platform where a wafer is placed. It moves at high speed with high accuracy.

Click on a number to check motion

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

Details of a lithography
equipment system(in a scanner)

Click on a number 1-5

  1. 1

    Ultraviolet light illuminates the reticle.

  2. 2

    The projection lens forms the image
    of the reticle pattern on the wafer surface.

  3. 3

    Both reticle stage
    and wafer stage are
    moved “in sync” to
    transfer the reticle
    pattern image to the
    wafer exposure area.

    Semiconductor lithography equipment How marvelous! ① Semiconductor lithography equipment How marvelous! ②
  4. 4

    The wafer is advanced
    to the next
    exposure area on the
    wafer stage.

    Semiconductor lithography equipment How marvelous! ③
  5. 5

    The process shown is
    repeated many times.

Scanner
Scanner is a device that simultaneously moves both reticle and wafer when illuminating one exposure area.
Reticle
An original plate where a semiconductor circuit pattern is drawn. The pattern on the reticle is miniaturized by the lens and projected onto the wafer.
Reticle
An original plate where a semiconductor circuit pattern is drawn. The pattern on the reticle is miniaturized by the lens and projected onto the wafer.
Wafer
A semiconductor substrate generally made of single crystal silicon.
Reticle stage
The platform where a reticle is placed. It moves at high speed with high accuracy to synchronize with the motion of the wafer stage.
Wafer stage
The platform where a wafer is placed. It moves at high speed with high accuracy.
Reticle
An original plate where a semiconductor circuit pattern is drawn. The pattern on the reticle is miniaturized by the lens and projected onto the wafer.
Wafer
A semiconductor substrate generally made of single crystal silicon.
Wafer stage
The platform where a wafer is placed. It moves at high speed with high accuracy.
Wafer
A semiconductor substrate generally made of single crystal silicon.

Semiconductor devices empower social and technological progress

  • • Smartphone
  • • TV
  • • PC
  • • Automobile
  • • Refrigerator
  • • eSports
  • • Self-driving
  • • Data center
  • • Train operation system
  • • Water supply control system, etc.
Semiconductor
device

The “IoT” era has arrived, with the potential to connect everything to the Internet. Interactive person-to-person communication via the network is expanding day by day. Semiconductor evolution via circuit miniaturization is essential in realizing advanced technologies for daily life — such as AI (artificial intelligence), cloud services, and 5G communication. Thus, semiconductor progress reflects progressive marvels in lithography equipment.

Nanoimprint lithography —
the next-generation semiconductor lithography equipment

A semiconductor chip contains miniscule circuits. To mount as many circuits as possible on a tiny chip for peak performance, the linewidth of the circuit pattern must be as fine as possible.
This is why Canon developed nanoimprint lithography — next-generation miniaturization radically different from all previous methods. In conventional semiconductor lithography, a lens projects the circuit pattern on the wafer. But in nanoimprint lithography, no lens is needed to form the circuit pattern on the wafer. Instead, the mask engraved with circuit patterns is simply pressed against the resist to form the pattern on the substrate. Nanoimprint lithography more faithfully reproduces the fine circuit pattern on the wafer, for even further miniaturization and ever-higher semiconductor performance.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

Click on a number to check motion

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

Details of nanoimprint
lithography system

Click on a number 1-4

  1. 1

    Liquefied resist is
    dispensed in the
    correct position
    matching the circuit
    pattern.

    Nanoimprint lithography How marvelous! ①
  2. 2

    The mask is pressed
    against the resist,
    filling it with
    nanometer-scale
    grooves engraved on
    the mask.

    Nanoimprint lithography How marvelous! ②
  3. 3

    UV light curing application hardens
    the resist.

  4. 4

    The mask is carefully
    separated and the
    hardened resist
    becomes the circuit
    pattern.

    Nanoimprint lithography How marvelous! ③
Resist
Circuit-forming resin is hardened by ultraviolet (UV) light curing.
Mask
Mold with circuit pattern design.
Resist
Circuit-forming resin is hardened by ultraviolet (UV) light curing.
Mask
Mold with circuit pattern design.
Resist
Circuit-forming resin is hardened by ultraviolet (UV) light curing.
Resist
Circuit-forming resin is hardened by ultraviolet (UV) light curing.
Mask
Mold with circuit pattern design.
Resist
Circuit-forming resin is hardened by ultraviolet (UV) light curing.

Nanoimprint lithography is the future of semiconductors

Semiconductor technology is already used in familiar goods. However, improved performance and cost reduction are almost reaching their technical limit. Nanoimprint lithography has the power to break through limitations and open a new frontier — realizing the evolution of semiconductor chips with higher performance and functionality, and lower power consumption.

How FPD lithography equipment impacts our daily lives

What’s indispensable to all of our smartphones, smart watches, PC monitors, large-screen TVs, and digital signage? Regardless of size, all of these information display devices depend on Flat Panel Display (FPD) technology.
FPD contains an array of one million or more ultra-fine pixels, each consisting of three colors: R (red), G (green), and B (blue). FPD lithography equipment is essential for creating these massive pixel arrays and its innovation creates beautiful, smooth, high-definition images for our convenience and daily quality of life.

Click on a number to check motion

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Photomask

Photoresist
/substrates

Plate stage

Trapezoidal
mirror

Concave mirror

Convex mirror

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

Details of a FPD
lithography equipment

Click on a number 1-3

  1. 1

    The photomask containing the circuit
    pattern is illuminated with ultraviolet
    light.

  2. 2

    Ultraviolet light
    passes through the
    photomask and is
    reflected five times
    by trapezoidal mirror,
    concave mirror,
    and convex mirror.
    (See steps 1-5.)

    FPD lithography equipment How marvelous! ① FPD lithography equipment How marvelous! ② FPD lithography equipment How marvelous! ③
  3. 3

    A glass substrate coated with
    photoresist is illuminated and
    exposed with the circuit pattern.

FPD
Abbreviation for Flat Panel Display. FPD is a collective term that includes electronic display devices such as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) and Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED).
Photomask
Transparent original plate inscribed with a circuit pattern.
Photomask
Transparent original plate inscribed with a circuit pattern.
Photomask
Transparent original plate inscribed with a circuit pattern.
Photoresist
A photosensitive substance whose properties alter with exposure to light. Patterns exposed into photoresist materials define electronic circuitry in the manufacturing process.
Photomask
Transparent original plate inscribed with a circuit pattern.
Photoresist
A photosensitive substance whose properties alter with exposure to light. Patterns exposed into photoresist materials define electronic circuitry in the manufacturing process.
Plate stage
A platform that positions photoresist coated glass substrates (plates) during FPD circuit patterning.

Products equipped
with FPD

Most displays that show images and characters are FPD supportng digital products equipped with high-definition monitors.
FPD lithography equipment moves ahead continuously to support development of next-generation devices such as in-vehicle displays, aircraft cockpits, VR goggles, and interactive blackboards. Canon is leading the evolution of innovation.

  1. Accelerating stage motion at high speed

    Both reticle and wafer stages move at high speed with high accuracy to match exposure timing and position. The degree of acceleration is over 12G — exceeding a rocket launch (4G) and maximum acceleration of a fighter jet in a sharp turn (9G).

  2. Resolution

    Semiconductor lithography equipment inscribes miniscule circuits invisible to human eyes — because semiconductor performance depends on how minute circuits can be. Imagine a 26 x 33 mm exposure area as a soccer field. Exposure is like drawing a fine line on the field with a pen nib as thin as 0.2 mm.

  3. Positioning accuracy

    The lithography equipment repeatedly exposes the circuit pattern, so positioning must be exact. The entire circuit will be defective if the exposed lower layer is not positioned with nanometer-scale precision. In golf terms, such astounding accuracy is like making a hole-in-one from Tokyo to Hawaii.

  1. Resist droplet placement technology

    Too much or too little resist will disrupt formation of circuit patterns. The ideal amount is calculated to match any circuit pattern, so the resist does not run short or overflow when the mask is pressed. Since resist droplet placement is critical, Canon applies expertise in inkjet technology to individually manage, control, and adjust multiple nozzles for resist dispensing.

  2. Superimposing accuracy

    Semiconductor chips are made by stacking multiple pattern layers, so it’s essential to precisely align upper layers with patterns on lower layers. However, since the wafer pattern is altered in various processes of manufacturing, it’s difficult to attain precise superimposition for alignment. Canon solved this issue by developing a system to illuminate a wafer with a laser, creating thermal deformation to overlap the underlying wafer. We took advantage of heating effects to reshape materials and achieved high-accuracy alignment exactly as needed.

  3. State-of-the-art resolving power

    With conventional semiconductor lithography, 38 nm* was once considered the technological limit of resolving power. Now, Canon nanoimprint lithography transforms circuit fabrication, achieving resolving power of 15 nm or less. For example, if a UV exposure area (26 x 33 mm) on a wafer is compared with the footprint of the Great Pyramid of Giza, a precise line on the wafer is like a minute drawing with a 0.2mm pen. We believe this breakthrough will revolutionize semiconductor technology.
    * 1 nm (nanometer) = 1 billionth of a meter

  1. High-precision large concave mirror

    A concave mirror is the core element in the FPD lithography equipment exposure system that transfers ultra-fine circuit patterns of several μm*, from a photomask onto a large glass substrate. The large concave mirror with a diameter of about 1.5 meters is manufactured with extremely high precision using Canon optical technology.
    *1µm (micron): micrometer, one millionth of a meter

  2. Resolution

    FPD lithography equipment can pattern circuits on ultra-large glass substrates in the μm scale and can produce features with a linewidth of approximately 2 μm (about 1/50 of a hair) across panels as large as six 55-inch TV screens. The five-step mirror catoptric system is optically symmetrical. Compared with a lithography method using a lens, Canon lithography technology is free of chromatic aberration due to differences in light wavelength, allowing for high resolution and high productivity on large panels.

  3. Plate Stage is controlled at high speed and accuracy

    The plate stage where a large-area glass substrate (plate) is placed is extremely heavy — weighing as much as an Asian elephant. The precision and speed of the Plate Stage is a key part of efficient FPD manufacturing. Canon uses various technologies including ultra-precision measurement systems, powerful linear motors, and non-contact air bearings to achieve high-speed driving forces at approximately 900 mm/sec and high precision in μm scale.