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Nikon: ArF Immersion Scanner NSR-S620D
History of Nikon
Nikon Corporation is a global leader in the development and sales of optical instruments and components. The company’s main products include cameras, telescopes, binoculars as well as semiconductor manufacturing equipment. In the years shortly after its founding in 1917, Nikon mainly manufactured optical equipment including binoculars. It was in the 1930s when the company expanded its scope with the manufacture of cameras, adding precision equipment such as exposure devices to its business line in the 1940s. Nikon has been diversifying its business ever since.
As of 2008, Nikon’s imaging business, including single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras that have been earning especially high praise worldwide, accounted for 60% of its gross revenue. Semiconductor based trade (including semiconductor manufacturing equipment) and optical components (including optical measurement devices and microscopes) accounted for 30% and 6%, respectively.
In the following, Nikon’s semiconductor exposure apparatus, which has gained a preeminent reputation among major semiconductor manufacturers, is showcased.
In general, semiconductors with finer configuration circuits are believed to be more advantageous in terms of hardware properties such as high-speed operation, minimal power consumption, and low-heat generation. With these aspects in mind, a circuit pattern printed on a silicon wafer, which is the basis of semiconductor manufacture, need also be finer.
Scanners are a type of reduced projection exposure device (steppers), which reduce and copy circuit patterns onto silicon wafers. They expose both the reticle and the silicon wafer on which circuit patterns to be copied are printed by moving them simultaneously. Exposure can be performed using the lens center, which is indeed the most reliable part of a lens, and thus scanners are suitable for the structural refinement of silicon wafers. However, in that regard, scanners require complicated mechanical structures, and so devices tend to be expensive.
Moreover, in recent years, in order to achieve even better refinement, a technique called “immersion” has been developed, whereby the gap between a lens and a silicon wafer is filled with a liquid. Scanners employing this immersion technique can manage refinement at the level of 20 nm using a double patterning technique.
Manufacturers of semiconductors and therefore silicon wafers are aiming at even finer structures with worldwide demand for immersion scanners ever increasing.
ArF Immersion Scanner NSR-S620D
Nikon is a global leader with a significant market share in the manufacture of steppers. Herein, the ArF Immersion Scanner NSR-S620D, which is the latest model in Nikon’s scanner line, is introduced.