Ultraviolet lithography can produce lines for integrated circuits as
small as 39 nm in one recent test. To help sustain Moore's law and cram
more and more gates and memory units into a given space, manufacturers
of microchips must make the lines in their circuitry ever smaller. This
usually means working with a shorter-wavelength light beam for creating
the patterns used for inscribing fine features on silicon or metal surfaces.
The form of lithography currently in mass production now can produce
a half-pitch size (equal lines and spaces in between) of 90 nm and isolated
line widths of 65 nm. To produce a later generation after that you would
need even shorter wavelengths.
At the Advanced Light Source at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
(LBNL) a government-industry consortium of scientists is trying out
this future lithography. Using a beam of synchrotron radiation in the
extreme ultraviolet range they have produced 70-nm line/space intervals
and isolated lines 39 nm wide (see figure).
By the time this type of lithography comes into play, by about 2007,
these numbers should be 45 and 25 nm, respectively. The consortium consists
of a government side, the "Virtual National Lab" (LBNL, Livermore,
and Sandia), and an industrial component comprising Intel, AMD, IBM,
Infineon, Micron, and Motorola. (Naulleau
et al., Journal of Vacuum Science Technology B, Nov/Dec
2002; contact Patrick Naulleau, email@example.com)