Optical lithography Or Photolithography

 

Photolithography (also called optical lithography) is a process used in microfabrication to selectively remove parts of a thin film (or the bulk of a substrate). It uses light to transfer a geometric pattern from a photomask to a light-sensitive chemical (photoresist, or simply "resist") on the substrate. A series of chemical treatments then engraves the exposure pattern into the material underneath the photoresist. In a complex integrated circuit (for example, modern CMOS), a wafer will go through the photolithographic cycle up to 50 times.

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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 (PSM), optical 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.

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