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Exhibition design

The module of the winners 2020

Advances in digitalization is producing more and more data that has to be processed ever faster. To do so, new microchips are needed whose efficiency and power far exceeds what has been possible in the past. These chips cannot be manufactured, however, using conventional technology.

(f.l.t.r.) Dr. rer. nat. Sergiy Yulin, Dr. rer. nat. Peter Kürz, Dr. rer. nat. Michael Kösters

This is a problem the 2020 prizewinners Dr. Peter Kürz, Dr. Michael Kösters and Dr. Sergiy Yulin have solved: with the development of EUV lithography, an innovative technology based on extreme ultraviolet light.

With their development, they have dramatically pushed the borders of what has been technically feasible, including a novel optical system and laser technology at the heart of the new system for EUV chip production. Their innovation made a major contribution to the manufacturing of microelectronic components of extremely fine structures. In 1965, Gordon Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel, postulated that “the number of transistors on a chip will double every two years”. “Moore’s Law” continues to apply even today, not least of all thanks to EUV lithography.

Precision, excellence, performance – words that define the result of the work of these prizewinners and are reflected in the three outstanding components in the module’s wall display.
The expansive installation includes the “resonator”, part of the plasma light source that generates the EUV light at a wavelength of 13.5 nm required to produce the innovative chips in the EUV lithography machine.

Located above this fascinating development is a large EUV mirror with a special coating that makes it capable of reflecting extreme ultraviolet light. EUV lithography machines use mirrors instead of lenses to guide the EUV light with previously unattainable precision from the light source in such a way that the structures of a photomask which ultimately defines the chip’s structures is imaged on the wafer with extraordinary precision.

The third object falls back on the historic development of the technology: this is a “Micro Exposure Tool” dating from the year 2000, one of the first EUV projection optics for small exposure fields.

In the module itself, the complex process of EUV lithography is explained in detail based on different components, seen here also in smaller exhibits. With an interactive exhibit, visitors learn how important a mirror’s coating is for its function. Statements by the three prizewinners, located in the module’s media terminal, explain how long and complex the development process was and how their joint efforts were crowned with success.