DNP to Introduce Nanoimprint Replica Template Manufacturing Equipment and Establish Volume Production System for 10nm-Scale Semiconductors
Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) is set to introduce a nanoimprint lithography (NIL) replica template manufacturing equipment in answer to increased demand and the overall move to lower cost next generation 3D NAND memory. The new system will be introduced from March, 2017 and delivery will commence of 10nm-scale templates to semiconductor makers. NIL is a microfabrication technology that takes materials, such as resin, formed on a substrate then seals them with a metal mold to produce nanometer (10-9 meter) to micrometer (10-6 meter) scale patterns in a stable manner, and at low cost.
NAND flash memory is undergoing sharp increases in demand in line with the market expansion for smartphones and data center servers. In particular, 3D memory with vertically stacked memory cells, works to dramatically increase data volume, leading to forecasts for significant demand increases from data centers which are seeing sharply increased data volumes on the back of the spread of high function smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT). With existing photolithography technology-based semiconductor manufacturing methods, however, manufacturing costs, based on high cost apparatus, have been a challenge.
NIL technology overcomes these challenges by directly transferring the circuit pattern from the template and duplicating it, making it possible to manufacture with comparatively low cost exposure systems, without the need for high cost optical facilities. In addition, based on the fact that it is also possible to simplify the manufacturing process, this new approach is the center of attention as an epoch making manufacturing technology likely to lead to significant cost reductions of approximately 1/3 compared to existing photolithography technology-based manufacturing methods.
[NIL Replica Template Manufacturing Equipment]
DNP has developed NIL templates for semiconductors since 2003, and has been engaged in joint development of NIL processes with Toshiba Corporation and Canon Inc., since 2009. Since 2016, the Company has also made total capital investments of 4.0 billion yen in relevant process development, including high resolution, high speed electron beam (EB) lithography and dry etching related process equipment, aiming to establish a NIL template manufacturing set up targeting between 10 and 20 nm scale semiconductors for next generation semiconductors.
In this latest and final stage, in response to increased demand and overall move to lower cost next generation 3D NAND memory, DNP has introduced a Canon-made NIL replica template manufacturing equipment. The Company will establish a volume production line for 10nm scale semiconductors, and will commence delivery to Toshiba. As a result of this manufacturing equipment, it will now be possible to duplicate and deliver 10nm scale templates from a master template in a stable manner, putting DNP in a position to support the simplification of manufacturing processes at semiconductor makers, while also achieving significant cost reductions.
[Forward Looking Events]
DNP will commence supply of NIL templates for 3D NAND flash memory, aiming for annual sales of approximately 10.0 billion yen in FY 2019. Looking ahead, the Company will strengthen development and production systems to be able to respond to increased demand for NIL templates and the further miniaturization and cost reduction in semiconductors.