Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

What Does Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography Mean?

Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) is an advanced, highly precise lithography technique that allows for the manufacturing of microchips with features small enough to support 10 Ghz clock speeds.


EUVL makes use of super-charged xenon gas, which emits ultraviolet light and uses very precise micro-mirrors to focus the light onto the silicon wafer to produce even finer feature widths.

Techopedia Explains Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

In contrast, EUVL technology uses an ultraviolet light source and lenses to focus the light. This is not as precise because of the limitation of the lenses.

The EUVL process is as follows:

  1. A laser is directed at xenon gas, which heats it up to create plasma.
  2. The plasma radiates light at 13 nanometers.
  3. The light is gathered in a condenser and then directed onto a mask that contains the layout of the circuit board. The mask is actually just a pattern representation of a single layer of the chip. This is created by applying an absorber to some parts of the mirror but not to other parts, creating the circuit pattern.
  4. The mask pattern is reflected onto a series of four to six mirrors, which get progressively smaller in order to shrink the image size before it’s focused into the silicon wafer. The mirror bends the light slightly to form the image, much like how a camera’s set of lenses work to bend light and put an image on film.

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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…