Extending the lithography-airplane metaphor

by Ed Korczynski, Senior Technical Editor

Industry watchers enjoy invoking aviation metaphors to describe the evolution of lithography in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, with visions spanning propeller planes (i.e. 1:1 masks) to jet aircraft (reduction steppers), and even the next-generation lithography equivalents of cool-but-impractical supersonic planes like the Concorde. Here’s what I think is a more accurate metaphor for lithography’s evolution, explaining why we use planes, jets, and even helicopters for different applications — and why 157nm litho tools “never flew.”

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