1/26/2004 Rochester Institute of Technology Researchers Develop Next-Generation Image-Resolution Technology; Bruce Smith to Demonstrate New Optical Microlithography Technique
ADVISORY for 10 a.m. PST Tues, Jan. 27 - Los Angeles
ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 26, 2004 - A team of researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology has developed the ability to use optical microlithography to produce semiconductor device geometry as small as 38 nanometers. The team, led by Bruce Smith, Intel Professor of Microelectronic Engineering and associate dean of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, used a prototype liquid immersion nanolithography tool developed at RIT.
Smith says microelectronic devices that previously required extreme ultraviolet or near X-ray wavelengths can now be produced with optics and light much closer to the ultraviolet. This allows for more rapid and cost-effective development of smaller, more powerful and more affordable microelectronic devices.
"These results will have significant impact on the direction of the research, development and manufacturing of semiconductor devices," Smith says.
Smith will present findings at the International SEMATECH Workshop on Immersion Lithography at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) on Tuesday, Jan. 27, in Los Angeles.
The process is an enhanced method of creating circuit patterns on computer chips by exposing a light-sensitive layer, called photoresist, through a layer of water rather than through air. The process is actually based on 125-year-old science developed for applications in microscopy. By taking advantage of the unique optical properties of water at ultraviolet wavelengths, resolution nearly 1/20th the wavelength of visible light (and 1/1,000th the width of a human hair) is possible. The resulting higher resolution allows for smaller features in micro- and nano-devices. Since water is an existing component of wafer production, the process is not compromised. Smith anticipates an exposure tool for computer chip and microprocessor manufacturing will be commercially available within two years.
RIT received funding for the technology from International SEMATECH Inc., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (more commonly known as DARPA), Semiconductor Research Corp., IBM Corp., ASML Holding NV and Intel Corp. Direct funding and equipment acquisitions total $4 million.
"RIT's engineering faculty can impact the development of next-generation nanotechnology-based devices in many ways," says Harvey Palmer, dean of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. "The pioneering work of Bruce Smith in nanolithography is one of our most promising avenues for breakthrough research."
ABOUT RIT'S KATE GLEASON COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING:
RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering is among the nation's top-ranked engineering colleges. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in applied statistics, engineering science, and computer, electrical, industrial and systems, mechanical, and microelectronic engineering and a doctoral degree in microsystems engineering. RIT was the first university to offer undergraduate degrees in microelectronic and software engineering.
Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls 15,500 students in more than 340 undergraduate and graduate programs. RIT has one of the nation's oldest and largest cooperative education programs. (source: AScribe Newswire)