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.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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