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Leading Chipmakers Eye EUV Lithography to Save Moore’s Law

Intel, TSMC, and other chipmakers weigh extreme ultraviolet lithography, which may be ready by 2018

14 min read
Photo of a EUV scanner
Putting EUV to the Test: This EUV scanner (an ASML NXE:3300B) is used to print chip features at a SUNY Polytechnic Institute facility in Albany, N.Y. The EUV light needed to expose wafers is created near the bottom of the scanner, on the side visible in the foreground of this photograph. The far end of the machine is attached to a “track” that coats the wafers before exposure and processes them once they are done.
Photo: IBM Research

Even after you don a bunny suit and get deep inside Fab 8, it’s hard to get a sense of scale. Rows upon rows of tall machines, known as tools, dominate this US $12 billion GlobalFoundries facility, built amid forest north of Albany, N.Y. Carriers containing silicon wafers zip overhead along ceiling-mounted tracks, like tiny inverted roller coasters. If your timing is good, you’ll be standing by a tool when one of those carriers descends to join it, moving a wafer along to the next step in the three-month-long process it takes to turn a dinner-plate-size disk of raw silicon into chips that could be used inside smartphones, personal computers, and servers. That’s right: Begin making a microprocessor here on New Year’s Day and it may just be finished by the start of spring.

imgInside the Machine: To generate EUV, pulses of CO2 laser light are sent into a vessel (top and middle) where they collide with tiny tin droplets to create plasma. This partially assembled EUV scanner (bottom) at ASML’s headquarters in Veldhoven, Netherlands, is one of the company’s more recent models.Photos: ASML

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Computing With Chemicals Makes Faster, Leaner AI

Battery-inspired artificial synapses are gaining ground

5 min read
Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could an artificial brain be? Perhaps a very long way off still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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Fourth Generation Digitizers With Easy-to-Use API

Learn about the latest generation high-performance data acquisition boards from Teledyne

1 min read

In this webinar, we explain the design principles and operation of our fourth-generation digitizers with a focus on the application programming interface (API).

Register now for this free webinar!

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