Optical lithography, which has been the predominant
patterning technique since the advent of the semiconductor age, is capable of producing
sub-100-nm patterns with the use of very short wavelengths
(currently 193 nm). Optical
lithography will require the use of liquid
immersion and a host of photomask enhancement technologies (phase-shift masks
proximity correction (OPC)) at the 32 nm node.
Most experts feel that traditional optical
lithography techniques will not be cost
effective below 30 nm. At that point, it may be replaced by a next-generation
lithography (NGL) technique.