Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Diffraction and Semi-Conductor Lithography

  1. Aug 17, 2011 #1
    I was curious as to how semiconductor manufacturing gets around the fact that diffraction should prevent processors with transistors on the scale of tens of nanometers from being possible.

    How do we get around this if the diffraction of light is a fundamental limit to how small we can do any light-based etching?

    Thanks so much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    It gets tougher and tougher, but the impending end of photolithography has been predicted for years on end. I'm not an expert in photolithography (especially at the low-end of size scales), but yes, there are some limiting factors:

    The more specialized sub-wavelength and sub-diffraction limit techniques are discussed in more detail at the Wikipedia article starting with the 65 nm process technology:

    Not an in-depth explanation, but hopefully a starting point.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook