8 Top Innovations of 2017: #1 Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

By Rick Merritt – After more than 20 years in development, ASML shipped this year what it called volume-production-ready versions of some of the largest and most expensive electronics gadgets ever built. If the new EUV steppers succeed, they will help others build bleeding edge electronics devices for several years to come.

The latest EUV systems are not perfect. They lack, as far as I know, a production worthy protective wafer pellicle. They may still need refinement of their resists materials, and their throughput is still below the 200+ wafers/hour of their 193nm cousins.

That said, this system is a marvel of physics. It generates light by zapping with a laser beam a molten drop of tin as it falls, refracts the light through a maze of optics and focuses it into a nanometer-sized space with precision good enough for a microprocessor designer. more>

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