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News • 25.11.2020

Federal President Steinmeier awards the German Future Prize 2020: "Outstanding innovative strength in Germany"

In Berlin this evening, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2020, the Federal German President's Award for Technology and Innovation, to Dr. rer. nat. Peter Kürz, Dr. rer. nat. Michael Kösters and Dr. rer. nat. Sergiy Yulin for their project "EUV Lithography - New Light for the Digital Age".

The team has made a major contribution to the development and industrialization of a technology that can be used to manufacture microelectronic components with extremely fine structures, a prerequisite for many new applications and improved efficiency and performance of information technology. The scientists and their teams have taken optical lithography, a method long established in chip production, to a new level of manufacturing technology by using light in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectral range.

The result is a new optical system consisting of mirrors with a special coating. Another element is the most powerful industrial CO2 laser currently available that is used to produce the plasma for the EUV radiation. It is employed in industrial chip manufacture to produce nanometer-scale structures, equivalent in size to about one ten thousandth of the diameter of a human hair.

This technology can be used to produce the high-performance, energy-efficient and cost-effective microchips of the future. Leading manufacturers of smart phones and semiconductor products have already implemented the microchips of this new generation, and it is foreseeable that their use will greatly increase in future.

The Federal President awards the Deutscher Zukunftspreis to outstanding research and development projects. Fundamental to the jury's decision are the degree of scientific and technical innovation as well as the potential of turning this achievement into sustainable jobs for the future. The prize is endowed with € 250,000.

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