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CHIP TECH
Making Wafers Faster By Making Features Smaller

False-color images of the tin and lithium plasma plumes in EUV emission through a 7 to 15 nm filter, obtained under identical conditions. Credit: American Institute of Physics
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 17, 2010
The manufacturing of semiconductor wafers used in all types of electronics involves etching small features onto a wafer with lasers, a process that is ultimately limited by the wavelength of the light itself. The semiconductor industry is rapidly approaching this fundamental limit for increasing the speed of the microchip.

The development of a new intense 13.5-nm (extreme ultraviolet or EUV) light source will resolve this issue by reducing the feature size by an order of magnitude or so, according to Purdue researchers in the Journal of Applied Physics.

One way to generate this wavelength of light is to bombard tin (Sn) and lithium (Li) targets with laser beams to create an intensely bright plasma; Sn and Li are good candidates because their plasmas emit efficiently in the 13.5 nm region, says Purdue graduate student Ryan Coons.

He and his colleagues used spectroscopy and a Faraday cup to analyze the emission features and debris produced in laser-produced tin and lithium plasmas, and others in his group modeled their physical processes.

In a detailed comparison of the atomic and ionic debris, as well as the emission features of Sn and Li plasmas, the group's results show that Sn plasmas produce twice as much emission as that of Li. However, the kinetic energy of Sn ions is considerably higher, though with a lower flux. More work is needed to perfect the development of this technology.



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CHIP TECH
Taiwan scientists claim microchip 'breakthrough'
Taipei (AFP) Dec 14, 2010
Taiwanese scientists on Tuesday unveiled an advanced microchip technology which they claimed marks a breakthrough in piling ever more memory into ever smaller spaces. The scientists said they had succeeded in producing a circuit measuring just nine nanometres across - one nanometre is equal to one billionth of a metre. "Researchers used to believe that 20 nanometres was the limit for mi ... read more







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