Sandia LabNews

EUVL CRADA extended to 2005

DOE’s largest ever cooperative research and development agreement — a partnership to develop extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) at Sandia into the next-generation technique for making computer chips (Lab News, April 6 and April 20, 2001) — has been extended to 2005, and authorizes up to an additional $65 million in support to the $250 million already committed to the project.

The existing agreement, set to expire in March 2002, was extended to work on three current challenges, according to Chuck Gwyn, who heads the industrial consortium funding the project.

First, he said, the researchers will continue to improve the technology to increase the throughput rate and to increase the efficiency of the tools, thus decreasing the so-called "cost of ownership." Second, the continued development and use of the initial full-scale (or "alpha") tool assembled at Sandia/California will become a bridge for consortium members to develop and test their mask, resist, and early process technologies prior to the availability of pre-commercial "beta" tools. Finally, the extension will support the continuing transfer of the technology to industry to help establish the infrastructure for the technology over the next three years.

Funding comes from the EUVL Limited Liability Company (LLC), composed of Intel, Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices, Micron Technology, Infineon, and IBM. Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, and Lawrence Berkeley have joined their research efforts into a DOE Virtual National Laboratory (VNL) for the project.

In April, the partners announced completion of the first full-scale prototype machine (called the Engineering Test Stand) for inscribing transistors onto computer chips using extreme ultraviolet light. The breakthrough is expected to lead to microprocessors tens of times faster than today’s most powerful chips and memory chips with similar increases in storage capacity.

EUVL was developed because the current chip-printing technology is expected to reach its physical limits in the next five years.

"The CRADA extension is a measure of the extent to which the semiconductor industry is committed to making EUVL successful," said Jim Glaze, executive director of the Virtual National Laboratory.

"While the cost to develop EUVL is high, the payoff to industry and the nation in terms of the computing power that EUVL will enable is potentially immense."

"EUVL has reached the anticipated transition phase in which the VNL increasingly will engage the tool suppliers to help them commercialize the technology. The CRADA extension provides continued support of the technology foundations to help make that happen," said Glenn Kubiak (8732), Sandia EUVL program manager.

The initial three-year CRADA between the EUVL LLC and the Virtual National Laboratory began in 1997, with an extension to 2002.