The history of IMS Nanofabrication

Our milestones at a glance.

2010 – 2019
Multi-Beam Mask Writer (MBMW)

In 2010, IMS developed the first proof of concept Multi-Beam Mask Writer (MBMW). The mask writer was assembled in Vienna in 2011 and included a CMOS-addressable unit for providing 262,144 programmable electron beams on 6-inch photomasks. This would lay the foundation for a consortium with Intel, TSMC, DNP and Photronics.

In February 2014, IMS integrated an industrial platform provided by JEOL to realize the world’s first commercial multi-beam mask writer — the MBMW Alpha tool. Two MBMW Beta tools were completed in parallel and delivered to consortium partners. In 2016, the MBMW’s data rate was increased by a factor of ten, to 120 Gbit/s. As of 2016, IMS has been supplying the mask writer industry with MBMW-101 production tools for use at the 7-nanometer technology node. As of 2019, the 2nd generation MBMW-201 tools for the 5-nanometer technology node have been provided.

2002 – 2010

Within a MEDEA+ project running from 2002 – 2006, IMS Nanofabrication focused on multi-beam direct writing. The first goal was: 1,000 wire-addressed, programmable electron beams. Over the course of the ‘CHARPAN’ (Charged Particle Nanotech) EU project, a prototype tool with 200-fold reduction of the ion-optical projection was realized in February 2007. In September 2007, first multi-beam writing results were presented at the photomask conference in Monterey. This sparked the interest of US semiconductor company Intel Corporation.

In late 2008, IMS Nanofabrication successfully integrated a CMOS-addressable unit for the provision of 43,000 beams with an ion beam size of 12.5 nanometers. At the same time, an electron-optical assembly with a 200-fold reduction providing 2,500 programmable electron beams was realized in the ‘RIMANA’ (Radical Innovation Maskless Nanolithography) EU project. This innovation led to a first investment by Intel in 2009.

1990 – 2001
IPL Prototype

IMS developed an Ion Projection Lithography (IPL) prototype that transferred stencil mask structures to the silicon wafer substrate of stencil masks with a 4-fold reduction in ion projection optics. With this, a resolution below 50 nanometers was reached in 2001.

In Q4 2001, it was decided within the semiconductor industry to focus on EUVL (Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography) and to end further IPL development. Between 1999 and 2001, IMS had already developed concepts for multi-beam lithography and was renamed IMS Nanofabrication in 2001.

1985 – 1989
Company Establishment

IMS (Ionen Mikrofabrikations Systeme) was founded with venture capital in February 1985, in Vienna. From 1986 onwards, IMS developed two research IPL devices as part of a EUREKA project. The first went to the former Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure Technology in West Berlin in 1988, while the second one was realized upon commission from the Vienna University of Technology in 1989.