Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMSCommunication theory in optical lithography
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In addition to the well-known wavelength challenges in optical lithography, sustaining increases in total layout information density-a doubling every two years or so, per Moore's Law-further strains pattern transfer capabilities and costs for advanced designs. Emerging lithography methods address these barriers by leveraging optical, materials, and process techniques that deliver more useful information to the wafer image on top of modest improvements to the spatial bandwidth of the lithography channel. Lithography is a communication channel specialized in delivering high-definition, high-density physical images to silicon wafers. Parallels can be drawn to communication theory, where key innovations have steadily improved the efficiency of digital communication within increasingly precious bandwidth. Several recent lithography process innovations will be outlined in terms of communication theory concepts, and their impact on economic trade-offs and implications to layout design styles will be discussed.