The $ 150 Million Machine That Keeps Moore’s Law Alive

In 1965, Gordon Moore, an electronics engineer and one of the founders of Intel, wrote an article for 35th anniversary issue of Electronics, a trade magazine, which included an observation made from one’s own life. In the article, Moore said the number of components on a silicon chip has nearly doubled every year since then, and he predicts the trend will continue.

A decade later, Moore revised his estimate by two years instead of one. Moore’s law march has been questioned in recent years, even if recent manufacturing breakthroughs and chip design innovations have kept it on track.

EUV uses some unique engineering to reduce the wavelength of light used to make chips, and it should help maintain that line. The technology will be essential for making more advanced smartphones and cloud computers, and also for key components of advancing technology such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, ug robotics. “Moore’s law death is even more exaggerated,” del Alamos said. “I think it’s going to go on for some time.”

Between now recently lack of chip, causing economic shocks, ASML products have become the center of a geopolitical struggle between the U.S. and China, which Washington has made a high priority to block China’s access to machine. The U.S. government has successfully forced the Dutch not to issue the export licenses necessary to ship the machines to China, and ASML says it has not shipped them into the country.

“You can’t make leading chips without ASML engines,” he added Mangita ba, a Georgetown University research fellow studying the geopolitics of chip making. “A lot of it comes with years and years of tinkering with things and experimenting, and it’s very hard to come by.”

Every component that goes into an EUV engine is “surprisingly sophisticated and even more complex,” he says.

Making microchips already requires some of the most advanced engineering the world has seen. A chip begins life as a cylindrical chunk of crystalline silicon that is broken up into thin crusts, which are then coated with layers of light-sensitive material and repeatedly exposed. in the following context. The silicon parts that are not touched by light are then chemically engraved to illuminate the complex details of a chip. Each thin loaf is then chopped to make several individual chips.

Reducing the components on a single chip remains the surest way to extract more computational power from a piece of silicon because electrons are more efficiently passed through small electronics. components, and packing multiple components on one chip increases its computational capacity.

Numerous innovations continue to perpetuate Moore’s law, including novel chips and components. For example in May, IBM has introduced a new class of transistor, sandwiched like a ribbon inside silicon, which should allow multiple components to be packed on one chip without compromising lithography resolution.

But the reduction in the wavelength of light used to make the chip helped drive miniaturization and progress from the 1960s onwards, and it will be important in subsequent developments. Machines that use visible light have been replaced by those that use near-ultraviolet, which in turn gives way to systems that use deep-ultraviolet to capture the smaller shapes of chips.

A consortium of companies including Intel, Motorola, and AMD began studying EUV as the next step in lithography in the 1990s. ASML joined in 1999, and as a leading manufacturer of lithography technology, sought to develop the first EUV machines. Intense ultraviolet lithography, or the short EUV, allows a much shorter length of light (13.5 nanometers) to be used, compared to deep ultraviolet, the previous lithographic method (193 nanometers). ).

But it took decades to iron out the engineering challenges. Creating light in the EUV itself is a big problem. The ASML method involves directing lasers with high power through droplet cans of 50,000 times per second to generate bright energy. The lenses absorb EUV frequencies, so the system uses non -accurate mirrors with embedded special materials. Inside the ASML machine, the EUV light emits several mirrors before passing through the reticle, acting with nanoscale precision to align the silicon layers.

“To tell you the truth, no one wants to use EUV,” said David Kanter, a chip analyst at Real World Technologies. “It’s a late 20 years late and 10X over the budget. But if you want to build more structures, this is the only tool you have. ”

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