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Optical lithography: the long goodbye

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Mark Osborne, Editor-in-Chief, Semiconductor Fabtech

The 29th SPIE Annual International Symposium on Microlithography, held in Santa Clara California in late February 2004, is always of significance due to the crucial role lithography and its associated steps and enhancements play in realising Moore’s Law. The gathering this year was of particular significance due to the anticipated insight that leading lithographers from around the world would shed on the very latest developments with ArF immersion lithography. Going from concept to modelling and alpha-tool phase in less than two years has been a remarkable feat. However, proof of concept and the elimination of some of the key technical and engineering hurdles were top of the agenda. Failure to demonstrate that immersion would become the technology of choice would seriously effect the ITRS roadmap and the two-year nodeintroduction rate of the leading IC manufacturers. Here we review the issues and developments in ArF optical lithography unveiled at the SPIE symposium.
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