NIST Uncovers Potential Lithography Problem
NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) researchers have uncovered a potentially serious optical problem affecting designs for future generations of semiconductor manufacturing equipment using “deep ultraviolet” light. The “Moore's Law” phenomenon — the doubling of chip complexity with each generation — has been possible largely because of continual advances in lithography, allowing manufacturers to image and process integrated circuits with smaller and smaller dimensions. Reaching very small dimensions requires using very short-wavelength light. Production processes now use deep ultraviolet lasers at 248 and 193 nanometers to image circuits with critical features as small as 130 to 150 nanometers. The next steps for lithography are expected to be systems using 157-nanometers light, ultimately achieving feature sizes in the range of 70 nanometers.
Some of the optics for 193-nanometer and all of the optics for 157-nanometer lithography are made of calcium fluoride, one of only a few materials transparent at 157 nanometers.
The practical import for designers is that a calcium fluoride lens will not focus properly without control of the light as it enters the lens and a design that accounts for this intrinsic birefringence. Modeling software used to design such systems is being modified to account for the effects of birefringence, but it's not expected to be ready until October.
PCIM and PQA Appoints Editor-in-Chief
I'm please to announce the appointment of Phil Musser to the position of editor-in-chief of PCIM Power Electronic Systems and Power Quality Assurance Magazines. In his new role, Phil will direct the planning of the editorial content of the magazines and manage the PCIM and PQA staff from our Overland Park headquarters.
Phil earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri — Rolla. He joins us from T&D World Magazine, where he served as executive editor for the past year. Prior to Phil's move to publishing, he worked at MidAmerican Energy and UtiliCorp United where he held management positions in sales, marketing, engineering, and operations. He's an IEEE member and certified energy manager.
Barry LeCerf, Publisher
Utility Technology & Business Group
Semiconductor Sales Drop
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported worldwide sales of semiconductors were $12.71 billion in May, a decrease from $15.90 billion a year ago. May sales were 7.3% below the April 2001 level of $13.72 billion.
Compared to last year, May 2001 sales in the European market were lower by 16.6%, the American market was down 32.1%, and the Asian Pacific market was down 16.6%. Japanese market sales declined 10.6%.
From its beginning in the 1950s, the semiconductor industry has been characterized by a four-year cycle, sporadically modified by unexpected economic factors. The semiconductor industry has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% over the past 40 years.