Japanese chipmakers NEC Corp, Toshiba Corp, Fujitsu Ltd, Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Hitachi Ltd are joining NTT Advanced Technology Corp in a consortium that’s going to investigate the use of X-rays for creating next-generation semiconductors. X-rays should enable chipmakers will be able to etch smaller components on to substrates than using conventional lithographic techniques which use the wavelength of ordinary light, which is larger than X-ray. NTT has been working on X-ray lithography since 1984 and has technology for developing 0.07 micron circuits reports Nihon Keizai Shimbun. Even the newest conventional fabrication techniques are only now approaching 0.18 microns. The next step will be to produce a high-precision mask for circuit printing, the paper says. The companies will look at ways of printing chip circuits using NTT’s synchotron radiation equipment and an X-ray exposure system developed by the companies.
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