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Toppan Printing Enters into New Photomask Process Development Agreement with IBM

Toppan Printing announced that it has entered into a new development agreement with IBM that covers the last phase of 32nm photomask process development, and all phases of 22nm photomask process development. This joint development will take place at IBM's Burlington photomask facility in Essex Junction, VT., starting this month.

Photomasks are used to transfer semiconductor chip circuits onto a silicon wafer, and this photolithography process is a critical first step in semiconductor production. Semiconductors have become increasingly sophisticated due to growing demand for telecommunications devices and highly complex and multifunctional digital consumer electronic products. Therefore, it is vital that semiconductor and photomask manufacturers work closely together to develop the advanced lithography technologies that will be needed to produce future-generation semiconductor chips. In order to keep pace with this changing technological environment, Toppan Printing and IBM started joint development of photomasks for 45nm semiconductors in 2005, and expanded the scope of their activities to include 32nm development in 2007.

Toppan Printing has developed a 32nm photomask process at its facility in Asaka, Japan. As part of the activities under the new development agreement, Toppan Printing will work with IBM to integrate the Toppan Printing process into the 32nm photomask process that Toppan Printing and IBM will jointly develop, thus potentially optimizing the performance of the jointly developed process.

As for the 22nm semiconductor generation, the industry is considering implementation of many new technologies such as EUV lithography and nano-imprint, but many technical issues remain outstanding. So IBM has determined to pursue with Toppan Printing the joint development of a 22nm photomask process by technical innovation of ArF immersion lithography, the current mainstream technology for the manufacture of 32nm photomasks.

Source: Toppan Printing

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