X-bit Labs reports researchers are adapting methods used in fusion-energy research to create extremely thin plasma beams for a new class of nanolithography required for the production of future computer chips. More details over here.
Current technology uses ultraviolet light to create the fine features in computer chips in a process called photolithography, which involves projecting the image of a mask onto a light-sensitive material, then chemically etching the resulting pattern. New nanolithography will be needed to continue advances in computer technology and to extend Moore's law.
"We can't make devices much smaller using conventional lithography, so we have to find ways of creating beams having more narrow wavelengths," said Ahmed Hassanein, the Paul L. Wattelet Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of Purdue's School of Nuclear Engineering.
The new plasma-based lithography under development generates "extreme ultraviolet" light having a wavelength of 13.5nm, less than one-tenth the size of current lithography, Mr. Hassanein said.