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Sunday, January 5, 2014

#271 Will EUVL follow footsteps of XRL?

Current discussion concerning "inevitable" end of the road for 193 nm lithography and resulting need to bring Extreme UV lithography (EUVL) to the mainstream IC manufacturing reminds me of the discussion going on in mid-80's regarding the need to speed up development of X-ray lithography (XRL). At that time it was abot "inevitable" inability of optical (UV) lithography to expose features below 1 micrometer.
Whichever way you look at it, challenges facing these two upstarts some 30 years apart are eerily similar in nature. Problems with complexity and resulting huge cost of sources, difficult to implement optics, highly specialized masks technology, etc., make challenges EUVL is facing now look very much like challenges XRL was facing in mid-80'.

As a  reminder, with all the innovations, photolithography did progress to the point where XRL was not really needed in mass production. Wouldn't the same happen to EUVL if it would turn out that we won't need to go down to geometries beyond exposure capabilities of current 193 nm lithography? Because alternative to transistor scaling path to ultra-low power logic would be found and adopted in mass production of next generation logic? Wouldn't then EUVL end up being sporadically used, exotic tool just like XRL is now?


Some 10 years from now will be a good time to look back and assess the situation in this regard.

Posted by Jerzy Ruzyllo at 05:32 AM | Semiconductors | Link is the personal blog of Jerzy Ruzyllo. With over 35 years of experience in academic research and teaching in the area of semiconductor engineering (currently holding position of a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University), he has a unique perspective on the developments in this progress driving technical domain and enjoys blogging about it.

With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.

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