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Laser-driven plasma sources of extreme ultraviolet light for nanolithography

Objective

Moore’s law is not dead. Keeping it alive is of significant importance to society and to the economy. The prediction that the number of transistors in computer and memory chips doubles every two years, has pushed innovative, disruptive technologies, enabling the smartphone and driving tomorrow’s green automotive industries. It changes society.

The density of elements realized on a chip is defined by one essential step in their production: lithography. Moore’s law thus provides a challenge to science and industry to develop beyond state of the art lithographic technologies. This challenge is being met by introducing extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography in high-volume manufacturing. This is happening right now. Generating the required EUV light – from tin-microdroplet-based laser-driven plasma sources – of sufficient power, reliability, and stability, presents a formidable, multi-faceted task, combining industrial innovations with attractive scientific questions.

My proposal addresses this EUV source challenge through the following objectives: (1) create insight into tin-droplet deformation and fragmentation for optimal target preparation through laser-pulse impact, the first step of the two-step sequence used to produce EUV light; (2) provide understanding of the myriad of atomic plasma processes responsible for the emission of EUV light in the second step of the process; (3) understand and push the fundamental limit of this plasma-conversion of laser light into EUV light; and (4) explain and control how the laser-produced plasma expands. Each of these objectives has a significant potential impact in its own field of science and technology. This proposal as a whole has a further goal, namely to use the knowledge gained to transition from the CO2-laser technology currently in use for driving EUV sources to the superior, modern, solid-state lasers, to achieve the industrial dream of a plasma EUV light source that is one order of magnitude brighter.

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-STG
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Host institution

STICHTING NEDERLANDSE WETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK INSTITUTEN
Address
Winthontlaan 2
3526 KV Utrecht
Netherlands
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 1 500 000

Beneficiaries (1)

STICHTING NEDERLANDSE WETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK INSTITUTEN
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 1 500 000
Address
Winthontlaan 2
3526 KV Utrecht
Activity type
Research Organisations