IBM said at the SPIOE Microlithography conference in San Jose that it has created world's smallest line patterns using 193nm optical lithography:
Using 193-nm immersion techniques, IBM claims to have made distinct and uniformly spaced ridges at only 29.9-nm wide. This is less than one-third the size of the 90-nm features now in mass production and below the 32-nm level that the industry consensus held as the limit for optical lithography techniques, according to IBM.
"Our goal is to push optical lithography as far as we can so the industry does not have to move to any expensive alternatives until absolutely necessary," said Robert Allen, manager of lithography materials at IBM's Almaden Research Center, in a statement. "This result is the strongest evidence to date that the industry may have at least seven years of breathing room before any radical changes in chip-making techniques would be needed."