As the world awaits commercialization of 0.18 micron- technology wafers, a University of Texas (Austin, TX) team led by Grant Willson printed 0.08 micron features on a semiconductor wafer using a 193-nm-wavelength stepper. The Semiconductor Industry Association's roadmap for the market did not expect 0.08 micron features until the year 2009. Experts predicted the development of a new post-optical technology to produce sizes at or below 0.10 micron. However, Willson generated the minute features using an etched-quartz phase-shift photomask produced by DuPont Photomasks Inc. (Round Rock, TX). "I didn't believe it could be done at first," says Willson. "It really works better than my wildest imaginings, and it appears that the process latitude is there to generate smaller features yet." Call (512) 471-7272.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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