SHARP to Help Moore’s Law Stay True

Guest_Jim_* - November 2, 2011 05:40PM in Science & Technology

Researchers at Berkeley Lab are going to be starting work on the Semiconductor High-NA Actinic Reticle Review Project, or SHARP. It will be the most advanced extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) microscope when completed, and should lead researchers forward in the design and manufacture of future electronics. The microscope is designed specifically for photolithography, the technique used often in the production of computer chips, with several advances the industry may not see for some time. Photolithography uses light, in this case EUV light with a wavelength as fine as 13.5 nm, to etch patterns from a master onto a blank material. As computer technology approaches 16, 11, and 8 nm in their designs, the need for research is ever increasing, as natural laws may impair the ability to reach so far. This is especially true as imperfections and dirt on the masters cannot always be found by means other than EUV microscopes. With SHARP, such defects that could cripple a component, would be found and either repaired or removed. The project is expected to cost $4.1 million and take one and a half years to complete.