Nanomachining was first introduced in 2001 as a revolutionary option for the repair of advanced photomasks. After five successive generational improvements to the system technology, the RAVE Merlin® mask repair system has proven itself as the highest precision production tool for subtractive removal of opaque mask defects.

Repairing defects on binary chrome on glass masks, alternating phase shift masks and both 248nm and 193nm halftone phase shift masks, carbon patch trimming, sequential defect removal as well as repair of “non-removable” particles and irregularly shaped quartz bump defects represent some of the unique capabilities of our tool.

The control of pattern defects is the most critical issue for the production of high-end photomasks with decreasing feature size and increasing mask complexity. Historically and in recent years, three options for photomask repair have been available: Focused Ion Beam (FIB), Laser and Electron Beam mask repair equipment. While each technique has its advantages and unique capabilities, each technology has suffered from a variety of accuracy, imaging and production reliability limitations.

Since 2001, the fourth mask repair method, nanomachining, has become the industry leader. The nanomachining technique is an extremely accurate method for subtractive removal of opaque mask defects utilizing the advantages of atomic force microscopy (AFM) for unrivaled imaging, edge placement and z-depth repair control. The RAVE Merlin® photomask repair system represents the fifth generation of this high precision nanomachining technique.