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Aloha Lithography!


An excuse to travel to Hawaii?  You don’t have to ask me twice.  Especially if it is the Big Island, my favorite of the Hawaiian isles.  My excuse this time?  The 3-beams conference, also called triple-beams, EIPBN, or occasionally (rarely) the International Conference on Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology & Nanofabrication. The conference was held last week (May 29 – June ... » read more

If Computers Could Write


I have many titles.  Gentleman scientist.  Consultant.  Husband.  Dad.  Some are self-applied (the advantage of being my own boss), and some are earned.  One that I am proud of, and take seriously, is the title of “writer”.  Writing well is not easy, and I have the somewhat old-fashioned idea that I should only write if I have something worthwhile to say.  So when I do write somethi... » read more

Lithography: How Slow Can We Go?


Moore’s Law has always been about economics:  if we follow the trend of Moore’s Law, we can reduce the cost per function for our integrated circuits, making chips more powerful for the same cost, or making chips of a given capability cheaper.  Historically, cost per function has decreased by about 29% per year, corresponding to a factor of 2 decrease in cost every two years.  There are s... » read more

Estimating Pi Day


Today is pi day (3/14 – get it?), the not-exactly-official day to celebrate the mysteries of a circle’s circumference over its diameter.  When this most famous numerical expression of irrationality is closely combined with the second most famous irrational number –Euler’s constant, e - the result is a common mode of celebration today:  eating pie.  Enthusiasts pride themselves on mem... » read more

AL 2012 – Day 3


I continue to focus on line-edge roughness in my own research.  This means that I attended papers in every conference in the symposium, since LER is an issue that cuts across all topics in lithography.  (To be truthful, I meant to go to a paper in the new etch conference that talked about LER, but never made it.)  LER is finally, in my opinion, getting the attention it deserves.  I believe,... » read more

AL 2012 – Day 2


There is no place I’d rather be on Valentine’s Day than in San Jose surrounded by my friends and colleagues in lithography.  No wait, I didn’t mean that.  I miss my wife and two young daughters.  I don’t like traveling without them. While Valentine’s Day is the Hallmark holiday I despise the most, it does serve to remind me of the conflicted feelings of most business travelers w... » read more

AL 2012 – Day 1


Attendance at this year’s Advanced Lithography Symposium is up 10% this year, to over 1500, though we still haven’t recovered from the huge drop in numbers that accompanied the economic collapse in 2009.  Still, the mood here is good.  When I ask people how they are doing the answer is almost universally the same:  busy.  And busy is what we will all be this week, trying to navigate the... » read more

AL 2012 – Day 4


As expected, the first EUV session of the last day of the conference filled a large room.  It was time to hear the status of EUV tool development, in particular the EUV sources.  ASML started things off with a rosy recounting of the successes of 2011.  After installing their sixth NXE:3100 preproduction tool, ASML bragged of the 5300 EUV wafers processed at customer sites by these six tools ... » read more

AL2012 – A Prologue


Yesterday I found my way to San Jose (a more arduous journey than in the past, since all direct flights from Austin to San Jose have disappeared like civility in American politics).  Another SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference is about to begin.  As usual, I will blog each day from my vantage as an overwhelmed conference participant.  And also as usual, I will set the stage for what I think... » read more

Tennant’s Law, Part 2


In the first part of this article, I talked about the empirically determined Tennant’s Law:  the areal throughput (At) of a direct-write lithography system is proportional to the resolution (R) to the fifth power.  In mathematical terms, At = kT R5 where kT is Tennant’s constant, and was equal to about 4.3 nm-3 s-1 in 1995 according to the data Don Tennant collected [1].  The power of ... » read more

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