SPIE Advanced Lithography 2013 – day 0

The premier conference in lithography is set to begin in San Jose. I’ll be posting every day.

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Welcome to San Jose and the beginning of the Advanced Lithography Symposium.  The last year seemed to zip by in hurry, and it was an interesting one.  The lithography year 2012 was dominated by two big stories:  progress in directed self assembly (DSA) and lack of progress in Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.  I’m anxious to hear the progress reports for each this week.  For EUV, delays in the growth of source power are on everyone’s mind, but I’d like to point out that progress in the other essential areas of development are also under pressure.  We are still mostly blind when trying to assess the defectivity of EUV reticles compared to spec, and resist line-edge roughness (and the CD Uniformity loss caused by it) is barely budging.  Every year that EUV is delayed means that these specs must scale with the new resolution goal (will EUV be ready for the 8/7-nm node?), and we are still not sure if the 22-nm node specs can be met.

The conference this year is certainly on track to be a success.  The attendance looks to be about the same as last year (1500 paid attendees, 2300 including exhibitors and exhibit-only attendees).  The biggest conference this year is the Metrology conference (122 papers), and the smallest is the Design for Manufacturing (DFM) conference (25 papers).  I’m giving the keynote for the DFM conference on Wednesday, so even though it is small, please don’t miss it!

On a personal note, this month marks my thirtieth anniversary as a lithographer.  Am I really that old? When I glance in the mirror, or get up with a sore back after too many hours in a conference chair, the answer seems depressingly clear.  But when I think about how much fun I am having in the world of lithography I somehow don’t feel that old.  I guess that is what really counts.  And this week will certainly be great fun.  Let the conference begin!


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