IMEC Upgrades ASML XT:1250i Step-and-Scan System

9/20/2005 - IMEC's ASML XT:1250i step-and-scan system has been upgraded with state-of-the-art hardware last month. The first exposures show excellent performance in three key areas: improved CD uniformity across the wafer, improved overlay numbers up to values comparable to dry 193nm lithography, and a spectacular reduction in patterned defectivity.

At the second International Symposium on Immersion Lithography, IMEC presented the first conclusive exposure results on its recently upgraded ASML XT:1250i immersion lithography tool:

These results were obtained in the framework of the IMEC Industrial Affiliation Program on immersion lithography, which unites more than 30 major players in the field of immersion lithography.

"Our strategic partnership with ASML is a cornerstone of the IMEC Industrial Affiliation Program on immersion lithography," said Luc Van den hove, Vice President Silicon Process and Device Technology. "When the program started one year ago we were able to provide our partners access to one of the first full-field step-and-scan systems from ASML. We are very proud that we can show our partners these unique and very positive results obtained on the upgraded system. They prove that the major critical issues for immersion lithography can be overcome making immersion a viable and manufacturable technology for the 45nm node."

"This IMEC Industrial Affiliation Program marks significant progress in 193nm immersion lithography," said Martin van den Brink, ASML Executive Vice President, Marketing and Technology. "Together with our program partners, we see results that demonstrate the technology leadership of ASML immersion systems."

About IMEC Industrial Affiliation Programs
The IMEC Industrial Affiliation Program (IIAP) is IMEC's premier R&D collaboration formula for joint R&D between industrial researchers and IMEC research teams. IIAPs focus on a specific topic or technology area. The concept is recognized worldwide as one of the most successful international partnership models for joint development of next-generation technologies.

About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide, position IMEC as a key partner with which to develop and improve technologies for future systems. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1300 people includes over 400 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2004, its revenues were EUR 159 million.

About ASML
ASML is the world's leading provider of lithography systems for the semiconductor industry, manufacturing complex machines that are critical to the production of integrated circuits or chips. Headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, ASML is traded on Euronext Amsterdam and NASDAQ under the symbol ASML.

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