[CE2013-4] ASML (NL) - Parallelization and Acceleration of Motion Control Algorithms on Multicores

In the world of integrated circuits (ICs, or chips), ASML plays an important role as being the leading company in the manufacturing of lithography systems. Such systems, in turn, are part of the production process of complex ICs which are designed and developed by dozens of other multinational corporations. In order to produce chips, ASML lithography machines make circuit patterns be imaged onto silicon wafers. This is done by covering the wafers with a thin layer of light sensitive material, a photoresist, which can later be removed by means of exposure to ultra violet (UV) light . Such an exposure process must be performed many times on a single wafer with the ultimate goal of creating the circuit on the silicon surface.

ASML machines are designed as scanners, in which the laser beam remains fixed in a position while both a reticle, containing the circuit design, and the silicon wafer, move according to one another in order to image the circuit pattern onto the silicon surface.

Many hardware modules have to be provided with movement capabilities in the 6 Degrees of Freedom (DoFs), which define all possible translations and rotations within a three-dimensional space (x, y, z, Rx, Ry, and Rz). Of primary interest are the reticle stage chuck and the wafer stage chuck, onto which the reticle, used for pattern imaging, and the wafer are placed, respectively.

The purpose of this project is to explore parallelization possibilities in the execution of profile-generation-related subtasks. Up to date, calculation of the profiles has been carried out on single-core PowerPC e500 architectures, running on Linux, in a sequential fashion. However, in order to increase the throughput in ASML lithography machines, multiple-core architectures are to be deployed in the future and thus profile calculation is expected to be parallelized by mapping profile-calculation subtasks into the multiple cores of the new architectures.

Company Name: ASML
Location: Veldhoven, NL
Start date: Sep 2013
Duration: 9 months
Position: MSc thesis student

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