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"Pac-Man" Process Eats Nanodirt

Cleaning up nanoparticles critical to commercializing extreme UV lithography

2 min read

One of the problems faced by developers of next-generation lithography tools is the debris that accumulates inside the delicate tools and interferes with wafer throughput. But now a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has come up with a way of gobbling up these vexing contaminants.

Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL), which bounces 13.5-nanometer light off a mask containing the chip pattern and onto the silicon wafer, is the method of choice to make chips due out between 2015 and 2022. EUVL tools were supposed to be ready a few years ago, but technical problems, including debris, prevented commercialization. So far, toolmakers have focused on shielding the machinery from the debris generated during the process of creating EUV photons.

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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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