Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) is an advanced technology for making microprocessors a hundred times more powerful than those made today.
Silicon has been the heart of the world's technology boom for nearly half a century, but microprocessor manufacturers have all but squeezed the life out of it. The current technology used to make microprocessors will begin to reach its limit around 2005. At that time, chipmakers will have to look to other technologies to cram more transistors onto silicon to create more powerful chips. Many are already looking at extreme-ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) as a way to extend the life of silicon at least until the end of the decade.
Potential successors to optical projection lithography are being aggressively developed. These are known as "Next-Generation Lithographies" (NGL's). EUV lithography (EUVL) is one of the leading NGL technologies; others include x-ray lithography, ion-beam projection lithography, and electron-beam projection lithography. Using extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) light to carve transistors in silicon wafers will lead to microprocessors that are up to 100 times faster than today's most powerful chips, and to memory chips with similar increases in storage capacity.
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. 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
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