Enhanced light sources may help squeeze more information on chips

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Washington, July 10 : Mechanical and aerospace engineering scientists at the University of California, San Diego claim to have achieved a significant breakthrough that may be helpful for the semiconductor industry to squeeze more information on chips, with a view to accelerating the performance of electronic devices.

Mark Tillack, who is leading the project, says that his team's work may pave the way for more powerful computers, more memory, and hopefully lower costs.

He has revealed that to create faster, better and cheaper light sources for chips, his team is developing laser-produced light sources for next generation Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUVL).

The latest discovery by his team, for which the researchers filed a patent in May this year, indicates that longer pulse lengths can provide similar performance as short pulse lengths.

The researchers discovered that employing a long pulse in a CO2 laser system used in an EUVL source could make the system significantly more efficient, simpler, and cheaper compared to that using a shorter pulse.

"CO2 lasers, which we use in our lab, have two advantages - they are inherently cheaper to build and operate, and they give better conversion efficiency from the laser to EUV light. Our discovery that long pulses work well enough means that the CO2 laser system can be built and operated more cheaply," said Tillack, whose findings were recently published in Applied Physics Letters.

Tillack revealed that he and his colleagues use mirrors in their lab to guide the light into laser amplifiers.

He believes that EUVL may have many possible future applications, such as flash memory chips, which will become denser and denser.

"Imagine in the future being able to make a 200 gigabyte flash disk memory stick cheaply. EUVL could make hard disks obsolete," he said.

"We didn't know how to make a powerful source of light in this part of the spectrum before. We might be opening new avenues for advanced light sources. We need to continue our research and begin to look at other possible applications," he added.

ANI

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