Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography Still Beset by Problems

But some solutions are in the works

4 min read

15 July 2009—Researchers at this year’s International Workshop on EUV Lithography in Honolulu, are discussing new approaches to many of the intransigent problems that plague this long-anticipated yet still-not-ready chip-printing method. These include new ways of generating the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light, figuring out a better way to inspect nanometer-scale parts of the system, mitigating contamination generated by EUV light sources, and producing sharper nanometer-scale patterns on chips.

The EUV lithography workshop is organized by Vivek Bakshi, a researcher formerly with global chipmaking consortium Sematech, who went on to found EUV Litho, based in Austin, Texas. He says his workshop is more academic and focused on R&D and less commercial than Semicon West, a much larger chip-manufacturing gathering under way this week in San Francisco. Bakshi solicited solutions to problems that have kept EUV lithography from being adopted as the industry standard, even as its only alternative, double-patterning lithography, is strained further to its limits.

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A Circuit to Boost Battery Life

Digital low-dropout voltage regulators will save time, money, and power

11 min read
Image of a battery held sideways by pliers on each side.
Edmon de Haro

YOU'VE PROBABLY PLAYED hundreds, maybe thousands, of videos on your smartphone. But have you ever thought about what happens when you press “play”?

The instant you touch that little triangle, many things happen at once. In microseconds, idle compute cores on your phone's processor spring to life. As they do so, their voltages and clock frequencies shoot up to ensure that the video decompresses and displays without delay. Meanwhile, other cores, running tasks in the background, throttle down. Charge surges into the active cores' millions of transistors and slows to a trickle in the newly idled ones.

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