Advanced piezo-electric wafer stage

The future of actuators

Keeping up with the demand for manufacturing growth is the main challenge for the entire semiconductor industry. The Eindhoven Engine project ‘Advanced long-range piezo-electric wafer stage for next generation lithography and metrology application’ therefore aims to demonstrate the feasibility of an ultra-short stroke stage using lightweight and compact piezo-electric actuators. Unlike ‘force’ actuators, these are stiff and non-linear, requiring breakthroughs in materials, electronics, control, mechatronic implementation and sensor systems.

A collective system goal

The goal of this project is a proof-of-concept for a relatively large-range (>10 um) piezo-electric stage and an integrated measurement system with an uncertainty of <100 pm. ASML is driving this research towards alternative wafer stage concepts and actively contributes expert application knowledge and technology regarding lithographic wafer stages and state-of-the-art, high-precision mechatronics and system engineering. NTS group, VDL ETG and TNO have also expressed in interest in joining. Work is carried out via four PhD research projects which are co-located at TU/e’s Multimedia Paviljoen.

Important insights for future equipment

Besides its main goal, this project will open the door to various innovations within the semiconductor field. A metrology concept study into integrated photonics, for instance, will allow for new sensor layouts and position or deformation measurement principles. A study into forces and displacements, piezo stiffness, electronics inputs and parasitic behavior has also already provided valuable input for future system architecture studies.

Consortium partners: ASML and TU/e High Tech Systems center, with later involvement of NTS Group, VDL ETG and TNO