NWO funding for a variable-wavelength laser for next-generation EUV sources for nanolithography

Published on February 28, 2022
Categories EUV Generation & Imaging, EUV Plasma Processes
Tin droplet-generator setup
Tin droplet-generator setup (photo: Wessel Zwart)

ARCNL and VU group leaders Oscar Versolato, Stefan Witte and Wim Ubachs have received funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) Open Technology Programme for their project ‘Plasma driven by variable-wavelength laser for next-generation EUV sources for nanolithography’. The total project volume amounts to 775.000 euro.

Laser-produced plasma based on liquid-tin microdroplets provides the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light that is used in state-of-the-art EUV lithography. The use of this extremely short, 13.5-nm wavelength EUV light enables the continuation of the miniaturization of semiconductor devices that is captured by Moore’s law. In this project the researchers want to find out what is the optimum laser wavelength to drive such plasma through exploring the fundamental limits of converting ‘drive’ laser energy into useful EUV light. For this purpose, they will develop a high-energy, low-repetition rate laboratory-scale solid-state drive laser that is flexible in its wavelength and spatiotemporal beam profile and use it to drive microdroplet tin plasma to produce EUV light.

Versolato is happy with “this funding for a very promising line of research on the use of solid-state lasers to produce light from plasma – doing fundamental research with direct applicability”.

About the Open Technology Programme
With the OTP the NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences provides funding for excellent research, with a focus on the possible application of the results. The program offers companies and other organizations a low-threshold way of linking up with scientific research that should lead to applicable knowledge.

Read the NWO news release