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Two-Laser Lithography Shrinks Transistors

A new microscopy technique gets adapted for chipmaking

2 min read

Engineers are near the outer limits of what can be done with optical lithography, the process by which light shone through a patterned mask defines the fine structures of microprocessors and memory chips. Now three teams of optics experts have independently hit upon what could turn out to be a way to extend optical lithography’s use—and, what’s even more critical, to do it cheaply.

All three methods are inspired by the seminal work of Stefan Hell at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, in Göttingen, Germany. In 2005, Hell managed to push the resolution in an optical fluorescence microscope, used mostly in biology, well beyond its expected limits.

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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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