The team, led by Martin Richardson, university trustee chair and University of Central Florida (UCF)’s Northrop Grumman professor of X-Ray optics, successfully demonstrated for the first time an EUV light source with 30 times the power of previous recorded attempts – enough to power the stepper machines used to reproduce detailed circuitry images onto computer chips.
“We must use a light source with a wavelength short enough to allow the minimum feature size on a chip to go down to possibly as low as 12 nanometers,” Richardson said. The current industry standard for semiconductor production is approximately 65 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.
This means that the normal semiconductor business and Moore’s law should have a clear technical path to 12 nanometers. Even better and cheaper technology could still come up, but it is difficult to displace the proven processes.