Loopstra, Banine Named Finalists for EPO Inventor Award for Advances in EUV Lithography

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OBERKOCHEN, Germany, May 28, 2018 — Zeiss’ Erik Loopstra and ASML’s Vadim Banine have been nominated by the European Patent Office (EPO) as finalists for the 2018 European Inventor Award in the "industry" category for their inventions in the field of extreme UV (EUV) lithography.

Vadim Banine (left), Director of Research of ASML, and systems engineer Erik Loopstra, in front of a model of a ASML EUV lithography system. Courtesy of Zeiss.
Vadim Banine (left), director of research at ASML, and systems engineer Erik Loopstra in front of a model of an ASML extreme UV lithography system. Courtesy of Zeiss.

Loopstra and Banine’s key invention has made it possible to create geometric patterns on silicon wafers – the basis of the microchip – at a previously unprecedented level of detail. The resulting process not only upholds Moore’s law, but also makes it possible in the future to create chips with details as small as 8 nm.

After two decades of development in close cooperation with research partners and suppliers, ASML Holding BV and partner Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH brought EUV to market in a complete product in 2017. It is now possible to produce chips, marking a generational shift over older methods, which are more time-consuming than EUV lithography and require several passes through the lithographic printing. The technology saves chipmakers time and money in the production of next-generation chips that will drive innovations in fields such as consumer electronics, health, entertainment, autonomous driving, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

“With constantly increasing functionality, modern computer chips have to process ever larger amounts of data at an ever faster pace,” said Karl Lamprecht, member of the Zeiss Executive Board and president and CEO of Carl Zeiss SMT. “At the same time, neither energy consumption nor production costs per chip should increase. This development can only be continued if the number of integrated circuits found on a microchip rises constantly. This is exactly what EUV allows.”

"By combining their respective skills as a physicist and systems engineer, Banine and Loopstra have significantly contributed to develop[ing] a technology for industrial use that will help manufacture the next generations of microchips,” said Benoît Battistelli, president of EPO.

Launched by the EPO in 2006, the European Inventor Award honors individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times.

Published: May 2018
Lithography is a key process used in microfabrication and semiconductor manufacturing to create intricate patterns on the surface of substrates, typically silicon wafers. It involves the transfer of a desired pattern onto a photosensitive material called a resist, which is coated onto the substrate. The resist is then selectively exposed to light or other radiation using a mask or reticle that contains the pattern of interest. The lithography process can be broadly categorized into several...
ZeisErik LoopstraASMLVadim Banine2018 European Inventor AwardlithographyindustrialawardsBusiness

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