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Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography 33

anymouse writes "The April issue of Scientific American has this article on chip lithography using soft x-rays (extreme UV). Strange bedfellows - Intel and AMD at Sandia." Discusses the research process and technology behind the next generation of chip production.
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Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

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  • Yeah, seriously. I learned a couple weeks ago that a coworker I'm friendly with was a real big Greek type in school. And he's a fellow programmer, no doubt. It certainly changed my opinion of him, that's for sure.

    I wonder what the allure is. Is it the keggers? The feeling of security that comes with being a part of a group? The homoerotic overtones to which all members are oblivious?

    I'm fully expecting a reply asking, "But what if it were a HACKER frat?" That wouldn't change my opinion a bit. I would hate to live with a dozen or more people like me. I keep odd hours, I'm extremely moody, I'm territorial, and I have a huge ego. If even one of the other hackers were like me (and I'm willing to bet that my personality type is more common among hackers than that), the place would be like a war zone within a week.

    And we'd have to use our high-paying IT jobs to hire a maid, definitely. Hell, my apartment is barely habitable, and it only houses one geek. But what maid would come to a geek frathouse? I know I wouldn't -- dozens of sex-starved geeks eyeing me up ("Look, it's a live female specimen! Let's get the digital camera and stockpile wackoff material.") and imagining "french maid"-type fantasies ("Excuse me, miseur, but I have not yet cleaned your cock with my tongue!"). Hell, some geeks are so desparate that they'd try to rape a male maid, if his hair were long enough so that from when taking him from behind, the geek could just pretend that "she's the athletic type".

    I don't like frats. Maybe I just watched Revenge of the Nerds too many times when I was young.

    The only remotely cool frat would be one of math geeks. Pi Pi Pi. :-) (Tri-Pi?) I'm sure such a frat already exists, somewhere.

    -- The_Messenger

  • To nitpick, EUV is not actually a laser technology at all. The laser is just used as a heater to get really, really hot xenon gas, which then radiates thermally.

    More seriously, the distinction between EUV and soft X-ray is putely a marketing one. This technique was called soft X-ray until X-rays got a bad name.
  • Wasn't Sandia a nuclear lab? Then they know how to look after American interests. With the market scooped up by the Europeans [] and the [] Japanese [], no wonder that AMD and Intel are getting cosy. The acquisition of SVG by ASML [] could very well be called off, due to fears that strategic U.S. technology might fall in the wrong hands...

    Jacco (to e-mail me, please remove all yourclothes)
    # cd /var/log

  • I can give this a shot. My knowledge is not complete in this subject, but I know a bit. First of all, yes, you are correct that SRAM and CPU's use a simmilar components and DRAM's use capacitors for each memory cell. Thats why DRAM has to be refreshed every so often, the capacitors lose there charge (They are really small). In order to store one bit in and SRAM cell you need to have a feedback circuit consisting of a couple gates. Basically you need a flip-flop.

    Now here is where I dont know exact numbers. There are all kinds of tricks once you are playing with the silicon that make circuits designed at that gate level smaller than they would be if you actualy made each gate and connected them together. There is a great example of a 2-to-1 Mux that can be made in quite a bit less space by using a pretty cute trick.

    Anyway, you need a couple transistors to make this flip-flop (or whatever the SRAM cell is) and some connections (lets ignore the connections for now). So, lets say you need 8 transistors (random guess, couple for the actual bit of state, and some to enable reading and writing the data). Current CPU's are up to tens of millions of transistors (the thunderbird has something like 37 million transistors). Thats only 4 megabits of SRAM, or 512KBytes. This number is not right, you also have to take into account the fact that its MUCH easier to route signals in a RAM chip. So it might be off by and order of magnitude or two. But even if it is thats still not much RAM.

    I hope that helps, and I hope I havn't completetly messed something up. Well, I am sure someone more knowledgable can correct me where I am wrong, and will. :)
  • Most people now say "The farthest we can go with technology X is ..." instead of just saying there's an absolute limit.

    And it's a reasonable thing to say. You won't get trace size under twice the wavelength of the light you use to etch it. That's really obvious.

    So you either read that as there being a hard limit on what can be done, or as someone saying a new technology is required to go past those limits.

    I haven't heard any good "To go beyond X is impossible." quotes in quite a while.
  • This is pretty old news. We have had presentations about EUVL at the university here once or twice in the last year and there is quite a bit of literature dating back to the mid-90s (I did a paper on EUVL for a course in semiconductors).

    It is nice to see it in Scientific American, but I think EUVL has been brought up in discussions of other NGLs here on /. The article does take a good broad perspective on the issues as they stand.

    Intel has a paper on their website (if you can find it) that describes the process pretty straightforward as well (it might help the read to have a little bit of background).

    Here is that and some other URLs: [] rticles/art_4.htm [] nd.html [] [] w/Highlights/1998/ALS_chips.html [] ld001.htm [] html [] 20lithography []


  • Or you know you've been playing quake too long

  • First bombs, now ultraviolence ... when will this
  • soon they'll be able to capitalize on the EUV technique. NVIDIA is only now moving to .15 micron production, Athlons are being manufactured at .18, .13 is what everyone's aiming for but the process still seems to need refinement.

    This certainly isn't the 1st article to preach the wonders of EUV lithography, and should have dropped that "coming soon!" tone of the previous articles hyping the new tech. Fact is, chipmakers still have a lot of work ahead of them perfecting the use of current lithography processes, and squeezing all they can from what they know to work.

    Yes, research into future possibilities of chip manufacture is important, and Intel has been wise in not abandoning research in that area (duh) but they're not the heroes the article makes them out to be, they're only making sure they won't get left in the dust when current techniques become outdated. And they will not allow the consumer to benefit from that new research until they've milked the consumer for as much as they can selling them products created with current tech.


  • by Deluge ( 94014 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @02:33AM (#340210)
    Yes, I see the '40 atoms in width' line. The heat from each of the transistors would screw up the transistor beside it. That was the limit of the copper lines within a chip. Now they're saying they've overcome that limitation?

    D'ya ever get the feeling that these researchers and scientists and engineers working on chip technologies all get together at their IEEE meetings or some such thing and conspire against the world to make themselves seem smarter than they are?

    And I think they do this by agreeing to publicize some arbitrary limit, a roadblock to whatever they're doing, causing all sorts of worry among the general population about what'll happen when that roadblock is hit, and then when the roadblock is approached, "OMG OMG we figured out something new, this roadblock is no longer an issue, move on folks."

    It happens so often nowadays that nobody even notices it. How famous are the quotes by well known individuals claiming things like impossibility of supersonic travel, impracticality of computers, even impossibility of flight itself? Now we hear "once we reach this point in our technological sophistication, we can go no further" every 5 minutes, only to have that claim disproven another 15 min later.

    Ok, i'm done.


  • but what about the sisters of alpha, beta, gamma, epsilon, delta, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, xi, omicron, pi, rho, sigma, tau, upsilon, phi, chi, psi, omega
    goddamn college kids piss me off
  • Thats an interesting point you make, but I think that if it were true you couldnt prove it.
    Maybe it's the crack talking, but I think that's the funniest thing I've read here in weeks. :-)


  • You mean Intel's International Trio of Gay Blue Men? [] Yeah, they're pretty fucked up. My question is, how much acid do you have to do before they go away?


  • I can post de-obfuscations at +2. ;-p


  • by HerrGlock ( 141750 ) on Monday March 26, 2001 @02:20AM (#340215) Homepage
    Yes, I see the '40 atoms in width' line. The heat from each of the transistors would screw up the transistor beside it. That was the limit of the copper lines within a chip. Now they're saying they've overcome that limitation?

    Printing with UV lasers, no matter how sexy this might be, seems to be safer than the x-ray technology they were using. I would much rather be in a lab with the requirement for full covering goggles than have to wear a lead lined jock strap.

    Cav Pilot's Reference Page []
  • Thanks for the info on the direction they are going after 157nm. Tells me which way to point our test equipment [] (Ashame our web mistress took our VACUUM UV products off the website).

    And yes we do make test equipment that goes down to 13nm.

    Excellent article, if you believe everything you read, they will completely skip 157nm and go straight to 13nm. I think 6 to 10 years is more realistic.

  • ...when you misread the title of this as Extreme Ultraviolent lithography.
  • well, eventually moore's law will have to give out. As mentioned in the article:

    Whether Intel's buy-it-when-you-need-it strategy can work more generally remains to be seen. The real test may come in 15 years or so if EUV or EPL gives out and some wholly new substitute for silicon chips is needed. A paradigm shift--using molecules of DNA, nanotubes, quantum dots or other exotic materials to execute computations--may determine whether the virtual-research model can succeed. "Intel did a magnificent job of picking up the technology, recognizing its worthiness and driving it home," Freeman says. "But they're not putting the same effort into asking the questions about what to do when you get to 100 angstroms [10 nanometers]." Maybe one of Moore's successors will have to lay down the law for quantum computing.

    with the heavy investment etc onresources riding on the free lunch provided by Moore's law, it is going to be one heck of a financial collapse when Moore's law gives out. You thought the dotcom collapse was bad? just watch what happens when Moore's law gives out.

  • I think that it would suit Intel to have some of the r&d costs spread around, and Intel cannot afford to have the ability to produce 'better' parts, without the 3rd party support in chipsets/ram etc. (looking to maybe 4-6 years in the future..). Intel would not invite the others in the industry unless it suited Intel somwhere along the line.
  • I think it would suit your lowly self to adopt a large pile of SPAM into your home, for just 40 cents a day you can give SPAM the warm, caring place in your inbox it deserves. Please, give generously, the marketing department thanks you. ...the de-obfuscatah, because mailinglists need love too. Doesn't bother me at all my friend. Spam I get, spam I bin. Nice to know people like you exist, just proves how shallow the other end of the gene pool is


    hehe. p

  • That Rambus is not part of this in anyway ...
  • Damnit, that'll teach me to eat sunflower seeds while reading /. posts... I nearly asphixiated.

    This has got to be the funniest post I've seen in months...

  • Although AMD, Motorola, Infineon and Micron are partners, Intel negotiated contract terms that let it get the first machines produced.

    Really smart on Intel's part, if they can't beat AMD from design to production, they'll at least make sure they get a head start and have the equipment first.

    That is depending on whether or not the EUV actually beats EPL.

  • I have to disappoint you: 13nm wavelength is X-Ray. However, X-rays are an established technology - no need to worry about it being dangerous when done properly. The x-rays should never escape the vacuum vessel - so no need to wear lead.
  • ...Extreme Ultraviolent lithography.

    Wouldn't mind seeing those #$%! blue guys being shoved into a printing press, I'll tell you that.

  • Speaking of RAM, why haven't improvements in chip making technology led to SRAM becoming practical as main system memory. Isn't SRAM made of the same components as CPUs (rather than involving capacitors as DRAM does)? Surely someone can answer this.

    Er... Well, y'know. You can't make an omelette without um... destroying a forest. Or something.

  • I have a cousin who is in a fraternity. Not just any fraternity, the "asshole" fraternity. He fits in. Anyway, that's not what I'm discussing today. He has wanted to be in a fraternity since he was a child (he also has wanted to go to the school that we both go to because his father went here). From what I can tell he and 90% of all fraternity members join because they crave acceptance. The binge drinking is mainly a means of showing off.

    Er... Well, y'know. You can't make an omelette without um... destroying a forest. Or something.

  • I can see setting my PDA down only to watch it get picked up by the wind and blown away. Of course more power is always nice, but at what point would it be cheaper/easier to just start stuffing multiple cpu's in a case and Multi-thread stuff? you gotta figure that this new technology is expensive and at some point having 10 2Ghz chips in a box might be more effective then buying a machine with one 20Ghz chip.
    what's it all for?
    see the article in the same issue on tele-immersion [] where a 3d world is created on each end for virtual meetings. It's great stuff but it takes racks of computers on each end to get about 2-3 frames per second. I guess we really do need faster computers yet....
  • Thats an interesting point you make, but I think that if it were true you couldnt prove it.

    Fight censors!
  • see header^^... are we letting too many crack-whores in here again? or did I miss the point? *ponders* yup.. Both
    Just Another Pagan Shedding Light in this Dark Age~ JAPSLDA
  • Um...what? What the hell is the title then? Or have I been staring at this bloody screen for so long I have terminal domestic blindness? If this be the case, heed my warning all ye fellow Slashdotters: Philips 107S monitors felch.
  • Holy shit. What did I tell you about Philips 107S monitors? I wasn't kidding man -- they felch! God, I think my eyes aren't so great either.
  • "once we reach this point in our technological sophistication, we can go no further"

    I think this is seen in all branches of science all the time. The front line research is always concerned with the next step, not the step 20 kilometers away. A thousand mile march begins with a step and each step as important as the next one.

    This setting milestones are also like that. You work on beating a limit and once you beat that you know how to do it and better the methods which leads to further challenges and so on.

    And all these hypes are needed for the companies who invest in the research to prepare the market for the coming thing!

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!