EUVL is one technology vying to replace the optical lithography used to make today's microcircuits. It works by burning intense beams of ultraviolet light that are reflected from a circuit design pattern into a silicon wafer.

Description of Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

EUVL is similar to optical lithography in which light is refracted through camera lenses onto the wafer. However, extreme ultraviolet light, operating at a different wavelength, has different properties and must be reflected from mirrors rather than refracted through lenses. The challenge is to build mirrors perfect enough to reflect the light with sufficient precision.We know that Ultraviolet radiations are very shortwave (very low wavelength) with high energy. If we further reduce the wavelength it becomes Extreme Ultraviolet radiation.

Current lithography techniques have been pushed just about as far as they can go. They use light in the deep ultraviolet range- at about 248-nanometer wavelengths-to print 150- to 120-nanometer-size features on a chip. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.) In the next half dozen years, manufacturers plan to make chips with features measuring from 100 to 70 nanometers, using deep ultraviolet light of 193- and 157-nanometer wavelengths. Beyond that point, smaller features require wavelengths in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) range. Light at these wavelengths is absorbed instead of transmitted by conventional lenses Computers have become much more compact and increasingly powerful largely because of lithography, a basically photographic process that allows more and more features to be crammed onto a computer chip. Lithography is akin to photography in that it uses light to transfer images onto a substrate.

Light is directed onto a mask-a sort of stencil of an integrated circuit pattern-and the image of that pattern is then projected onto a semiconductor wafer covered with light-sensitive photoresist. Creating circuits with smaller and smaller features has required using shorter and shorter wavelengths of light.


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