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SPIE Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS Publishes First Known English Translation of Seminal 1918 Paper by Walter H. Schottky

Originally published as "Über spontane Stromschwankungen in verschiedenen Elektrizitätsleitern" by W. Schottky in Annalen der Physik, the SPIE translation also marks the centenary of this much-cited article

23 October 2018

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA and CARDIFF, UK - SPIE Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS (JM3) today publishes an open-access English translation of Walter H. Schottky's key 1918 Annalen der Physik article "Über spontane Stromschwankungen in verschiedenen Elektrizitätsleitern" 362 (23), pp. 541-567. The English text, "On spontaneous current fluctuations in various electrical conductors," was translated from the original German by Martin Burkhardt, a JM3 editorial board member, with additional editing by SPIE Fellow Anthony Yen.

In his 1918 paper, Schottky, a student of Max Planck and Heinrich Rubens, described the stochastic effect, or shot noise, a concept which, today, is a growing and prevalent challenge for the lithography industry; the paper's more than 450 citations in the last decade reflect its ongoing integral worth to the field. The evolution of semiconductor manufacturing, often described in terms of Moore's Law, has become increasingly reliant on shorter wavelengths and higher photon energy, increasing the impact of the Schottky-observed stochastic effects.

"Today, we see evidence of stochastic effects in lithographic patterning because a single layer of contact holes or vias can contain tens of billions of holes" says Burkhardt, who is also a research staff member at IBM. "No redundancy in those holes can be assumed - every one of them is supposed to be used for making an electrical connection - and each such hole has to be exposed in photo-resist with the right number of photons so that, after development, the hole in the photoresist is of the target size. Schottky's work describes the statistics that can be applied to the incoming photons onto the photoresist."

Even though the topic of shot noise is very important by itself, Burkhardt continues, "Schottky is actually better known for his theory of electron and ion emission, and his work on vacuum tubes. Electron and ion emissions were critical to understand rectification in semiconductors - the Schottky barrier - but it can also be applied for field electron emissions in a vacuum - the Schottky-Nordheim barrier."

The rights to make this English-language translation open access have been generously granted by John Wiley & Sons, publisher of Annalen der Physik.


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