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A New Light Source for EUV Lithography

Extreme ultraviolet laser offers a new route to next-gen chips

3 min read

A new type of X-ray laser could give hope to the semi­conductor industry as it struggles to continue its march toward ­miniaturization. This next-generation chip-­making tool was ­developed at the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology, located at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins.

The laser operates at wavelengths of 18.9 and 13.9 nano­meters, the latter fine enough for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which will be needed to manufacture the generation of chips that are to become available around 2011. The Colorado team found a way to take a small ”seed” of EUV light, also called soft Xâ''rays, and amplify the seed to produce a beam 400 times as intense. Finding a suitable light source for EUV lithography machines has proved much more difficult than expected, and though the Colorado laser is not yet powerful enough to replace the light sources already in development, its tabletop size and optical quality could ­accelerate the development of EUV components and materials.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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