Innovation in the lithography industry is essential during an economic downturn, plenary speakers told attendees at SPIE Advanced Lithography in San Jose, CA, this week.
"If you don't innovate during this downturn, the market will come back, but you won't," said plenary speaker Bernard S. Meyerson of IBM.
Gilad Almogy from Applied Materials predicted that this will be the worst year ever for lithography. But he reminded the audience that even a bad year for the lithography industry comes to the tune of a quarter of a trillion dollars (US), so "bad" is relative.
While agreeing that the lithography sector is facing a down year, Lisa T. Su of Freescale Semiconductor said growth in embedded applications will be steady and substantial. With the recent passage of the economic stimulus plan, she foresees movement in embedded electronics in health care (telemedicine, robotic surgery), broadband infrastructure (cloud computing, social networking), safety, and green technologies (power optimization).
Technical attendees and exhibition visitors both say their companies and universities are sending fewer people to conferences and industry events this year. But those at SPIE Advanced Lithography - described by one exhibitor as "a cornerstone show" for the industry - say they are not slowing down their R&D. Company executives are focusing on technology roadmaps with a view toward being in the right place when the economy takes an uptick, with some predicting that will happen by the first quarter of 2010.
Chris Mack, known as the Litho Guru and the "Gentleman Scientist," was awarded the sixth Frits Zernike Award by Symposium Chair Chris Progler, in recognition of Mack's development of the Prolith suite of lithography simulation software as well as his many contributions as both author and teacher.
New SPIE Fellows were also honored at SPIE Advanced Lithography. Left to right in the photo at right are Ralph Dammel, Lars Liebmann, Brian Grenon, John Sturtevant, Bruno La Fontaine, Franco Cerrina.
When it comes to the future for nanotechnology alternatives to CMOS scaling, scientists in the lithography industry "are people of imagination and creativity; the roadmap is under our control," said panelist Harry Levinson of AMD at a Tuesday evening panel sponsored by NIST and Molecular Imprints.
Also on the panel were Jack Martinez de Pinillos of NIST, Jim Hutchby of SRC, Michael Garner of Intel, Dan Herr of SRC, and William Tong of Hewlett-Packard. Chairs were Robert Silver, Christopher Soles, and Bryan Barnes of NIST.
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