Lithography Unmasked

August 28, 2001 | Source: Technology Review

Researchers are pursuing a cheaper way of designing and fabricating computer chips, using mirrors instead of masks.

Photolithography —- the standard chip manufacturing technique — requires expensive masks costing up to $1 million to create the patterns.

Researchers are using an array of tiny mirrors under computer control to turn individual beams on and off as the whole setup scans across the wafer.

Maskless technologies could allow for testing and building a wide variety of low-cost custom designs instead of being limited to building an expensive mask set.