Date: Around 1999
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?
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
Thanks for using NEWTON!
Richard R. Rupnik
Internal Quality Auditor
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Update: June 2012