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Bell Labs Extends Limits of Optical Lithography
May 1999
MURRAY HILL, NJ, May 3 -- Researchers at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs have produced the smallest working electronic device ever made using optical lithography. The experimental device -- a silicon flash memory cell -- has features as small as 80 nm.
The research demonstrates that optical lithography could be used to produce more advanced silicon chips than the semiconductor industry had thought possible. Extending the limits of optical lithography would result in significant savings for the industry, as it would postpone costly retooling for a successor technology. Currently, semiconductor manufacturers are using optical lithography to produce silicon-chip features as small as 180 nm, or 0.18 mm. The semiconductor industry had expected optical lithography to reach its physical limits at 120 nm.

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