Toshiba plans to allocate part of an 860 billion yen (about $8 billion) budget for spending on semiconductors over the next three years on introducing NIL into flash memory production lines, the report said. Production is set to begin in fiscal 2017 in Yokkaichi.
The development was expected as Toshiba has been researching NIL alongside Dai Nippon Printing and Canon for a couple of years.
Nanoimprint lithography can achieve line widths down to 15 nm and could be a much simpler and lower cost option than quad-patterning optical photoresist or the use of extreme ultraviolet lithography. NIL forms circuit details by pressing a mold on to a wafer coated with resist. Optical lithography is used to define the mold but this can be done using electron-beam lithography, which is generally considered too slow for volume manufacturing.
Canon acquired Molecular Imprints Inc. (Austin, Texas) – a long-time pioneer of semiconductor imprint lithography equipment – in 2014 for an undisclosed amount and at the time it was announced that Toshiba had an interest in the technology for use making 15nm NAND flash memories.
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