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Tabletop EUV Light Source

South Korean research team demonstrates an economical way to generate EUV light using femtosecond laser pulses

4 min read

9 June 2008—A team of Korean researchers may have come up with an economical way to construct laptop-sized light sources for making the next-generation of computer chips. The team, led by Seung-Woo Kim, of the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, in Daejon, has demonstrated a method to generate extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light using bow-tie shaped nanostructures and a very fast femtosecond laser. The entire apparatus is small enough to fit on a tabletop, according to their report in the 5 June issue of Nature .

The South Korean method could help to overcome a big problem that threatens to derail the industry’s decades-long march of miniaturization. Transistors today have become so small that a billion of them can be packed onto a computer chip the size of a fingernail. (Today’s state-of-the-art chips have features that are 65 or 45 nanometers in size). These features are etched onto silicon wafers using very-short-wavelength light, but to make faster, more compact circuits, transistors must shrink further. For that to happen, a new, shorter wavelength light source is needed to define the patterns on the chip.

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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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