Mapper Lithography, a Portfolio Company of RUSNANO, Starts Production of Key Elements for a New Generation of Lithography Equipment

03 July 2014

A plant for the production of electronic optical elements using MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) technology has been launched at the Moscow Technopolis. The elements are among the most crucial and science-intensive components for maskless lithographs built by the Dutch company, Mapper Lithography. The company, whose shareholders include RUSNANO, has invested in setting up the Moscow Technopolis-based facility a total of 1 billion rubles.

A ceremony to market the opening of the new plant was attended by the Mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, the Executive Chairman of RUSNANO Management Company LLC, Anatoly Chubais, and the co-founder of Mapper Lithography, Arthur del Prado.

The new plant in Moscow is built on an area of two thousand square meters, half of which consists of cleanrooms meeting ISO 6 criteria (as verified by measurements). The plant uses the latest high-tech production equipment, including an ASML lithographer, SPTS and Lam Research etching machines, and a Trymax device for photoresist removal.

The Moscow plant will employ more than 30 people who have undergone several months of training at the parent company in the Netherlands, including specialists, who have worked for a number of years at leading microelectronics companies in western countries and are now returning to work in Russia. For example, the technical director of the Mapper plant in Russia, Denis Shamiryan, has worked abroad for IMEC and Global Foundries.

Lithography is the central process in the production of integrated microchips, semiconductor devices, as well as some superconductor nanostructures. The industry standard today is optical immersion lithography, which gives resolution of about 32 nanometers. Various additional technologies make it possible to increase optical lithography resolution to 22 nanometers, but their application has severe negative impact on production economics.

Maskless lithography using beam technology (electron-beam lithography, or E-beam) offers an alternative to optical lithography. Mapper Lithography has been developing maskless electron-beam technology for more than 10 years and already has several industrial prototypes of lithographs, which have been purchased and tested by the leading industry players, including the Taiwanese company TSMC and the CEA-Leti Microelectronics Research Institute in France. At its present stage of development Mapper Lithography equipment offers resolution of 22 nanometers.

The electronic optics based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which are now being produced in Russia, are the key element of Mapper’s lithography technology. What makes Mapper products revolutionary and sets them apart from competitors is their simultaneous use of 13,000 beams, which dramatically increases system performance compared with use of a single beam. The task of the electronic optical components being manufactured in Russia is precisely to convert a single beam into 13,000 beams and to control each beam separately.

It is intended to produce three types of electronic optics at the Moscow plant. The simplest of them are spacers, which are used to separate electronic optical elements. Next in order of complexity are silicon electronic lenses for focusing and collimation of electron beams. They will come into production by the end of this year. Production of the most complex elements, containing electronics for control electrodes, is scheduled to begin by the end of 2015.

The lithography equipment market is highly consolidated, and is dominated by three producers: ASML, Nikon and Canon. Market volume is about $6 billion, representing sales of several hundred lithograph machines a year. At full capacity Mapper’s Russian plant will produce electronic optic sets for 20 machines per year.

Mapper’s lithographs are intended for two types of customers. First, they are well suited to the needs of small and medium-sized chip manufacturers: by dispensing with the need for a mask (one of the most expensive parts of the microelectronics manufacturing process) the new lithographs make cost-effective production of very small batches of chips possible for such manufacturers. Secondly, Mapper lithographs offer major benefits to large companies, which must get new chip-based products to market quickly: at present such a company has to order several masks at the design stage and any mistake means that the mask has to be remade, causing delays and costing money. Mapper equipment makes it possible to test an almost unlimited number of options at the design stage without creating multiple lithographic masks, substantially reducing the costs and time required to bring the new product to market.

Reference

RUSNANO Joint-Stock Company was founded in March 2011 through reorganization of state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. JSC RUSNANO contributes to implementation of the state policy on the development of the nanotechnology industry by investing directly and through investment funds of nanotechnology in financially effective high-technology projects providing the development of new production facilities in the Russian Federation. Its primary investment focus is in electronics, optoelectronics and telecommunications, healthcare and biotechnology, metallurgy and metalwork, energy, mechanical engineering and instrument making, construction and industrial materials, chemicals and petrochemicals. 100 percent of shares of JSC RUSNANO are owned by the state. Thanks to investments RUSNANO currently opened 73 factories and R&D centers in 28 regions of Russia.

Management of assets of RUSNANO JSC is carried out by Limited Liability Company established in December 2013, RUSNANO Management Company. Anatoly Chubais is the Chairman of its Executive Board.

Work to establish nanotechnology infrastructure and carry out educational programs is fulfilled by RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, which was also established during the reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.