UC-Berkeley Lithography Research Team Wins 1997 SRC Technical Excellence Award

Release date: October 7, 1998

BERKELEY, CA and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - A team of University of California at Berkeley researchers have won the 1997 Technical Excellence Award from the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC). The Berkeley team included Drs. William Oldham and Richard Schenker, and Fan Piao.

The Berkeley research team studied how light affects the lithographic lens materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. Their work has saved microchip manufacturers approximately $100 million dollars in troublesome equipment purchases and won the top technical honor from the industry’s research consortium.

"Companies and organizations like IBM, Intel, MIT Lincoln Labs, SEMATECH, SVG Lithography and Texas Instruments have told us how valuable this lithography research has been to their companies," said Larry W. Sumney, SRC president and CEO. "In a very short time, the Berkeley team has provided outstanding early results for an investment the semiconductor industry has made in their work through SRC."

Optical lithography tools, like a good telescope, require stable lenses that can focus and image small features. The clarity of a projected image depends on the optics and materials used to focus that feature. However, until recently, very little has been known about the properties of materials incorporated in the lenses of advanced optical pattern transfer systems.

Professor Oldham and his former graduate student, Dr. Schenker and current student, Piao, have developed tools and models for characterizing, evaluating and predicting the fundamental properties of materials proposed for these advanced lens designs. Using these tools, they discovered that the light from some advanced imaging sources damages the lens materials, which makes them unusable for integrated circuit manufacturing. The research team’s early results enabled integrated circuit manufacturers to avoid premature purchases of equipment and develop work around strategies that saved them millions of dollars.

The SRC Technical Excellence Award was established by the SRC in 1991 as an incentive and recognition program for research of exceptional value to the SRC's more than 60 member companies. The awards are presented annually for research that significantly enhances the productivity and competitiveness of the North American semiconductor industry.

SRC, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., with an office in San Jose, is the largest continuous industry-driven university research program in the United States. The SRC plans and manages a $35 million program of basic and applied research carried out principally at North American universities on behalf of participating North American companies.

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