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Name: Joel
Status: Other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1999


Question:
The microchip wafer process has been shrunk to .25 micron and its expected to be .18 micro within 6 months. Using basically the same process, how much smaller can we go?



Replies:
Joel,

An interesting question, and one which probably currently has no answer.

There are limitations to the current technologies, but, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Current limitations exist due to trying to do what are basically photographic techniques with 'normal' light wavelengths. As the line sizes shrink and shrink, it eventually will become impossible to attempt to clearly produce these tiny, tiny lines with 'normal' light. We are nearly at that limit currently. That is not to say we must cease production; on the contrary, there is and still will be great demand for products containing those technologies which exist and are in use today.

Research and some early developmental work is ongoing in the field of using shorter and shorter light wavelengths to produce the smaller and smaller and smaller line sizes. X-rays offer the capability to produce line sizes which offer improvements over the current technologies.

Bottom line is that research is trying to produce options beyond what our current technologies can produce. If you visit a local or university library, you can check on the periodical research literature on 'IC manufacturing" or "chip manufacturing" for the latest trends in manufacturing.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Richard R. Rupnik
Internal Quality Auditor
Lucent Technologies


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