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Micronic claims big productivity boost from next-generation Sigma

Posted by iTech - 2005-10-08

Micronic Laser Systems AB has introduced the latest version of the company's Sigma laser photomask pattern generation tool, the Sigma7500.
According to Micronic (Taby, Sweeden), enhancements made to the latest version of the tool emphasize productivity. The company says the tool is capable of writing a photomask in one hour and 45 minutes, down from about three hours with the previous-generation Sigma7300.

The Sigma7500 utilizes a 248 nm KrF excimer laser and is based on Micronic's proprietary spatial light modulator technology, which uses an array of micro mirrors to project an image onto a wafer. According to Micronic, the Sigma7500 offers high resolution and OPC fidelity as well as excellent CD control. The tool also offers new yield enhancement functions, including energy spread compensation and and a technology known as ProcessEqualizer to compensate for errors such as non-uniform mask processes.

Micronic executives at the Bacus Photomask Technology symposium in Monterey, Calif. said the company has multiple Sigma7300 installations in the field, but declined to specify the number. Intel Corp. is known to have a Sigma7300 and presented a paper on the production performance of the tool at Bacus.

Because SLM technology is fundamentally different than the technology used by other laser pattern generation tools, Micronic's introduction of the first-generation Sigma7100 in 2001 garnered a lot of attention. But the company discontinued the Sigma7100 in 2004 after the first customer, DuPont Photomasks Inc. (now Toppan Photomasks Inc.), returned the tool, saying that it did not meet production performance targets.

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