Canon Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the PPC-1,  Japan’s First Semiconductor Lithography System

    SINGAPORE, 15 January 2020 – Canon today announced the 50th anniversary of the launch in 1970 of the PPC-11, Japan’s first semiconductor lithography system, which signaled the company’s full-scale entry into the semiconductor lithography equipment business. Semiconductor lithography systems are indispensable for the fabrication of semiconductor devices used in such devices as cameras, smartphones and automobiles. Canon semiconductor lithography equipment has continued to evolve in order to enable the advancement of digital technology.

    Canon Projection Print Camera (PPC-1) ​​​​​​
    Japan’s first semiconductor equipment

    The history of Canon’s semiconductor lithography equipment begins with advancements in camera lens technology. Utilizing technology originally developed for camera lenses during the mid-1960’s, Canon developed high-resolution lenses for photomask manufacturing. With the aim of expanding its operations, the company began developing semiconductor lithography equipment for wafer fabrication, and in 1970, entered the business with the introduction of the “PPC-1,” Japan’s first domestically produced semiconductor lithography equipment. Canon later released the FPA-141F in 1975, the world’s first lithography system to achieve resolution more precise than 1 micron2 resolution. In 2010, the FPA-141F was recognized by the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology as an Essential Historical Material for Science and Technology.

    At present, the Canon semiconductor lithography equipment portfolio includes i-line3 and KrF lithography systems4 to meet an expanding range of applications and market demands. Canon continues to expand its lineup of semiconductor lithography equipment and optional functions with the aim of supporting various wafer sizes and materials and next-generation packaging5 process requirements. Canon also offers leading-edge such lithography solutions as the in-development nanoimprint lithography equipment6 which enables cost-effective circuit pattern miniaturization for mass production processes.

    Since 1986, Canon has also leveraged its semiconductor lithography technology in the development, manufacturing and sale of equipment used in the production of flat-panel displays on large-area substrates. Going forward, the company will continue to pursue both higher-resolution and productivity for Canon flat-panel display lithography systems in order to meet the needs of LCD and OLED display manufacturing.

    As Canon celebrates the 50th anniversary of its semiconductor lithography equipment, the company will continue to improve and refine its lithography systems with the aim of contributing to the further development of society.

    For more information on Canon’s semiconductor lithography technology, please refer to the appendix below.


    About Canon Singapore Pte. Ltd.
    Canon is a global leader in photographic and digital imaging solutions. Canon Singapore Pte. Ltd. is the headquarters for South & Southeast Asia driving sales, marketing and service strategies. Besides handling the domestic market, the company covers 22 other countries and regions including subsidiaries in India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The parent company Canon Inc. has a global network of more than 300 companies and employs close to 200,000 people worldwide. Canon is guided by its kyosei philosophy that focuses on living and working together for the common good.

    More information is available at https://sg.canon.


    Appendix

    Semiconductor Device Technology
    Semiconductor chips and devices are incorporated into smartphones, personal computers, digital cameras and other everyday items we rely on. As we enter the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which a multitude of items are connected, semiconductor devices such as sensors and communication devices are becoming increasingly important. Whether integrated into cars, home appliances or artificial intelligence (AI) systems used for big data analysis, semiconductor technology is more essential than ever to society and demand for semiconductor devices continues to increase.

    Semiconductor Device Applications
    Semiconductor Device Applications

    Technology Used in Semiconductor Lithography Equipment
    Semiconductor lithography equipment is used in the wafer exposure phase of the semiconductor-chip manufacturing process. Semiconductor chips are fabricated by exposing fine circuit patterns onto semiconductor substrates called “wafers.” Semiconductor lithography equipment uses a projection lens to reduce circuit patterns written on an original photomask (reticle) and expose the pattern onto a portion of the wafer. Each wafer is sequentially moved by a wafer stage and the circuit patterns are repeatedly exposed across the wafer. Because circuits and semiconductor devices are fabricated by overlaying many layers of ultra-fine patterns at micrometre or nanometre-level7 precision, semiconductor lithography equipment must utilize ultra-high-precision technology to achieve accurate performance on this scale.

    Lithography system overview
    Lithography system overview

     PPC stands for “Projection Print Camera.” When released, the PPC-1 was referred to as a semiconductor printing device, not an exposure device.
    2 A semiconductor exposure system using a mercury lamp light source for i-line wavelength (365 nm) exposure. One nanometre (nm) is one-billionth of a metre.
    3 A semiconductor exposure system using laser light generated from krypton (Kr) gas and fluorine (F) gas for KrF wavelength (248 nm) exposure.
    4 The common name for the SI unit micrometre. One micrometre is one-millionth of a metre.
    5 Packaging protects delicate IC chips from the external environment while enabling electrical connection and communication with the external chips and devices.
    6 Nanoimprint lithography involves pressing a mask (mold) directly into the resist on a wafer like a stamp. Circuit patterns including free-form structures on the mask can be precisely transferred with higher resolution in comparison to conventional optical lithography equipment.
    7 One micrometre is one-millionth of a metre. One nanometre is one-billionth of a metre.