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Optical Development Continues

SVG Lithography Systems Inc. has been awarded an optical development subcontract by a DARPA-funded program investigating microlithography using 193-nanometer wavelength light.

The four-year, $23 million Direct Excimer Processing Program, most of which is being conducted at MIT-Lincoln Laboratories in Bedford, Mass., hopes to spark development of a commercially available microlithography system using the “deep, deep ultraviolet” wavelength, said Arati Prabhakar, acting deputy director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Defense Science Office.

“The end goal is to have an optical quarter-micron system available to the semiconductor industry,” said Dr. Prabhakar. In addition, she added, the program is researching “process improvements to reduce the manufacturing step count and simplify processing — things like all-dry processing and some further-out ideas like resistless processing.”

SVGL, which is comprised of the former Perkin-Elmer lithography operations, will work with Lincoln Labs to produce an optical train that could be incorporated into the third generation of its Micrascan step-and-scan litho system, which is slated to reach market in 1994. Officials declined to reveal how large SVGL’s subcontract is, but called it “substantial.”

The operation started work on an earlier phase of the program prior to Silicon Valley Group’s buyout, noted Dave Shaver, leader of Lincoln Labs’ submicrometer technology group. “Lincoln had approached several U.S. companies