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© Carl Zeiss SMT
German Trends and Innovations

March 20, 2008

Enlightenment for the Microchips of Tomorrow

Intel cofounder Gordon Moore made a bold prediction in 1965: the number of transistors on a microchip would double every two years and their performance would increase dramatically. The US entrepreneur has proved right. Today, 43 years later, a single chip has more than one billion transistors – and forms the basis for PCs, MP3 players and the Internet. Yet, it is also true that the conventional production technique for microchips has reached its limits. It is no wonder then that the semiconductor industry is now looking expectantly to Germany, or to be more precise, to Oberkochen in Baden-Württemberg. With EUV lithography, Carl Zeiss SMT has achieved the breakthrough for the microchips of the future. The optics specialists can cram ten times as many electronic circuits onto a chip as in the past using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation. A comparison helps to illustrate how fine the dimensions are here: if a microchip were a normal A4 sheet of paper, EUV technology would make it possible to print an edition of Deutschland 53,000 times on one page. Zeiss engineers have spent ten years working on this technological breakthrough and registered over 50 patents in the process. They have made research history by breaking numerous world records in mechatronics and optical systems. The world’s most modern factory for lithography optics has been created in the process.

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© Deutschland magazine/February/March 2008/Roland Knauer



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