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Photonics Spectra
Since 1967, Photonics Spectra magazine has defined the science and industry of photonics, providing both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry and promoting an international dialogue among the engineers, scientists and end users who develop, commercialize and buy photonics products. Stay current with a FREE subscription to the digital or print edition.

EDITORIAL COMMENT
Latest Issue
Jul 2021

Resharpening trailing-edge technologies

DANIEL MCCARTHY, SENIOR EDITOR [email protected]
DANIEL MCCARTHY, SENIOR EDITORTremendous thought and planning ensure that each issue of Photonics Spectra offers value and appeal for as broad a readership as possible. We aim to publish at least one feature representing each of the four “tentpole” technologies of this industry — lasers, imaging, spectroscopy, and optics. And yet, for all our studied diversity, unexpected themes sometimes emerge in our feature content. In the case of the July issue, that theme might be articulated as “All that’s old is new again.”

Our cover story, written by James Schlett, sets the tone. It reports on an unexpectedly sharp rebound in demand for deep-UV (DUV) semiconductor lithography tools based on argon fluoride laser technology. DUV laser tools have been the industry workhorse for nearly three decades and have produced countless generations of transistor chips with progressively smaller feature sizes.

A few years ago, semiconductor manufacturers began rolling out extreme-UV (EUV) lithography tools to enable chips with sub-14-nm features. That rollout continues, though at a pace slower than initially expected.

DUV tools were never going away. EUV is only critical for fabricating the very finest features on a chip, and DUV systems often take over and finish the job at some point. DUV systems are also suitable for producing chips designed for a broad and growing array of high-volume applications, from 5G to artificial intelligence.

In an industry characterized by razor-thin margins, rising demand for venerable DUV lithography is driving new growth. Read Schlett’s article here to learn more.

Contributing editor Hank Hogan’s feature on lunar landers also fits this month’s “old is new” theme. Most readers today would associate moon landings with an era typified by love beads and disco music. We may all be recalibrating that association soon, as NASA’s Artemis program is preparing to send astronauts to the lunar surface again within the next few years. This time NASA is targeting the moon’s rockier south pole for a landing site, and the astronauts’ descent will be aided by laser, lidar, and imaging technology. Click here.

It would be a challenge to not find something new and cutting-edge in our coverage this issue. But it’s nice to see some legacy photonics technologies demonstrate their staying power.
Mike Wheeler
As editor-in-chief, Michael Wheeler oversees Photonics Media's editorial operations — spanning print, web, and podcasts. He also serves as editor of Vision Spectra, chronicling advancements in the rapidly expanding machine vision/inspection sector.
Dan McCarthy
Senior editor Dan McCarthy manages editorial content and production for Photonics Spectra. An award-winning writer and editor, he has communicated the progress and practical value of advanced technologies for over two decades.
Doug Farmer
Senior Editor Douglas Farmer has been a journalist for nearly 20 years, winning awards for health and education reporting. He has a master's degree in journalism from Ball State University. He is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics magazines.
 
Sarah Weiler
As Webinar & Social Media Coordinator, Sarah Weiler organizes and produces all Photonics Media webinars and manages social media content. With a background in writing and editing, she also contributes to the print publications.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics, and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
Hank Hogan
Contributing Editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
 
Marie Freebody
Contributing Editor Marie Freebody is a freelance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Farooq Ahmed
Farooq Ahmed has covered the physical and biological sciences for over a decade. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University.
 
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