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Closer to 10GHz

Ronald Hanaki
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ZDNet reports that Intel has cleared another hurdle on the way to the 10GHz milestone:

The chipmaker announced Thursday that it has delivered the first standard-format photomasks for use with Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. The technology is designed to allow chipmakers to embed ever smaller features on silicon, beginning with chips at the 70-nanometer level. Current processors are manufactured on a 180 nanometer micron process. Smaller features mean more transistors can be squeezed onto smaller pieces of silicon, making for greater computing power.

Because of EUV’s relatively smooth road to development, most industry experts believe the technology will succeed today’s Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) lithography as the technique used to manufacture chips running at speeds of 10GHz or more.

Instead of transmitting light through the mask, as is done in current chip manufacturing, EUV uses its masks to reflect the ultraviolet light on to the wafer. To accomplish this, Intel and EUV LLC, a consortium charged with developing EUV technology, had to develop special coatings. The coatings consist of several layers of molybendium silicide, a mixture of molybendium and silicon.

EUV LLC is a consortium including Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Motorola, Micron Technologies, Infineon and the federal Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories. Most recently, IBM joined the group.

More here.