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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Toshiba and NuFlare Awarded the 59th Okochi Memorial Grand Production Prize

Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba) (TOKYO:6502) and NuFlare Technology, Inc. (NFT) (JASDAQ:6256) have been awarded The 59th Okochi Memorial Grand Production Prize for their joint development and practical application of electron beam (EB) mask writers. The award ceremony will take place in Tokyo on March 22.

LSI circuits are fabricated by using lithography tools to project and shrink master circuit patterns onto wafers. The master circuit patterns are first written on masks by EB mask writers. Previously, most EB mask writers used point beams to write the patterns, and these had to become smaller with the scaling of LSIs. This increased the write time for masks and became the key challenge in improving productivity in mask making.

Toshiba and NFT together developed a practical EB mask writer with better writing accuracy and productivity that utilizes Variable Shaped Beam (VSB) mask writing method, where electron beams are formed into desired shapes to fill in the patterns.

The Companies developed a novel formula and calculation system that achieves faster and more accurate correction of proximity effect, the phenomenon whereby scattered electrons from the mask substrate change the beam exposure degrade the accuracy of mask patterning. The previous technology required a few days of calculations to achieve the target calculation error of less than 0.5%. The new formula cuts the calculation time to under 1 hour, allowing real time calculations to be coordinated with pattern writing (beam scanning and tool stage movements).

The development and application of a high brightness electron source shortens the mask write time. This was achieved by improving the material of the electron source and its operating conditions to boost brightness – the amount of electrons emitted in a certain time. This eventually reduced the time needed for exposing the electron beams on to the mask by 95%, significantly reducing the write time.

The Companies will continue to promote innovative technology to meet increasing demand for mask writers with better accuracy and productivity.

About Toshiba

Toshiba is a world-leading diversified manufacturer, solutions provider and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products and systems. Toshiba Group brings innovation and imagination to a wide range of businesses: digital products, including LCD TVs, notebook PCs, retail solutions and MFPs; electronic devices, including semiconductors, storage products and materials; industrial and social infrastructure systems, including power generation systems, smart community solutions, medical systems and escalators & elevators; and home appliances.

Toshiba was founded in 1875, and today operates a global network of more than 550 consolidated companies, with 202,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing 6.1 trillion yen (US$74 billion). Visit Toshiba's web site at

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