S&S Tech is planning to install key equipment that will allow it to manufacture extreme ultraviolet (EUV) blank masks, TheElec has learned.
The mask maker is planning to install ion beam deposition (IBD) machines from US company Veeco Instruments.
The installation of such equipment means S&S Tech has sufficiently accumulated technologies to be able to manufacture blank masks for EUV processes in wafer fabrication, sources said.
Veeco Instruments’ equipment is known to substantially reduce possible defects during the production of masks.
Hanyang University professor Jinho Ahn told TheElec said no company can currently manufacture EUV blank masks without the US company’s IBD machines.
The majority of Japanese blank mask manufacturers also use equipment from Veeco, Ahn said.
Blank masks are used to make photomasks that are used to print circuit patterns of chips and display panels.
S&S Tech has been manufacturing blank masks since 2002 and has Samsung and SK Hynix as its customers.
Blank masks for EUV are the most advanced masks, being made with molybdenum and silicon stacked multiple times.
No South Korean company has successfully commercialized these advanced masks so far.
Samsung imports these from Japanese companies that are leaders in this sector.