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JMAR Improves CPL Reliability and Productivity for Sub-90 Nanometer X-Ray Lithography; Receives $1.6 Million in Funding from DARPA

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--JMAR Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: JMAR) reported that the recent endurance trial of its Collimated Plasma Lithography (CPL(TM)) X-ray light source and wafer exposure system achieved significantly improved reliability and productivity while printing sub-90 nanometer features. As a result of the Company's progress, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released a new $1.6 million block of funding, $800,000 of which was announced by the Company last week.

Repeating a five-day "Iron Man" trial, first carried out at JMAR's South Burlington, VT facility in September 2003, CPL System testing in March 2004 yielded an 80% improvement in availability, a 40% reduction in exposure time per field, and a 200% increase in overall productivity. With X-ray power of 10-12 watts sustained over a period of several days, beam-on time was limited only by the copper tape target capacity of the beta-1 model configuration.

The large depth of field and short wavelength associated with X-ray lithography makes CPL attractive for producing fine contact holes, vias, and Chalcogenide-RAM features (C-RAM is a phase-change, nonvolatile semiconductor memory technology offering the potential for faster write and erase speeds and higher cycling endurance than conventional Flash memory). These tests confirmed the value of those characteristics and suggested generous process latitude by patterning both dense and sparse contacts within the same field. The tests also produced 80 nm contact holes alongside complex 100 nm serpentine patterns.

A second CPL X-ray source, under development at JMAR's San Diego facility, has demonstrated the operational benefits of several engineering improvements. Stability measurements of X-ray power over several hours show continuous power near 20 watts, converting 10% of the laser energy into X-rays. Improved copper target delivery mechanisms, higher beam quality, better controlled laser pulse timing, and laser beam overlap control point the way toward JMAR's goal of eight-hour beam-on time between target changes for higher availability.

Ronald A. Walrod, JMAR's Chief Executive Officer, remarked, "We have made significant improvements in CPL source power, reliability and productivity since our September endurance tests. Last fall, we initiated work in San Diego to develop a new CPL source to test important design improvements and aid in trouble shooting the Vermont system. The improved results achieved by our March tests of the integrated stepper system in Vermont and our continuing success with the improved CPL source in San Diego, show that we are on the right track. Although our work is not complete, we are pleased with our progress toward meeting operational requirements. With expected DARPA funding of $5.4 million in 2004, we are continuing our work to improve CPL source reliability, availability, power level and stability."


This work continues under contracts from Army Research Laboratory/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Headquartered in San Diego, California, JMAR Technologies, Inc., develops, manufactures, and supports advanced laser, automated alignment and positioning, and sensor systems for applications in the semiconductor, biotech, homeland security and nanotechnology markets. JMAR originated the Collimated Plasma Lithography (CPL(TM)) light source for advanced semiconductor chip manufacturing.

JMAR's operations include its high brightness lasers and laser-produced plasma technology at its Research Division in San Diego, California; its Systems Division in Burlington, Vermont, which serves as JMAR's product design and manufacturing arm, carrying out the engineering, production, and integration of JMAR's CPL light sources and CPL stepper systems; and its Microelectronics Division, based in Sacramento, California, where JMAR provides process integration and maintenance support for the U.S. Government's Defense Microelectronics Activity semiconductor fabrication facility.

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JMAR Technologies, Inc.
Dennis E. Valentine
Chief Financial Officer
760-602-3292


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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