Oregon Patent of the Month – August 2021

Advancements in technology, like shrinking integrated circuits (IC), have helped provide more computing power per unit area – so devices can get smaller and more powerful. A key contributor to these advancements are the fabrication of smaller and smaller transistors per unit area through advanced photolithography techniques. Recently, it seems that these advancements are reaching their physical limits. Consequently, Vathys, Inc. has been developing newer, more advanced fabrication techniques to surpass this limitation.

The industry standard photolithography system uses a light source and photomask to pattern IC features and designs onto a photo resistant material. This is limited by the maximum achievable resolution. A smaller spatial resolution results in a higher resolution achieved. Vathys’ lithography system uses a scattering photolithography system in combination with a direct writing technique. This method allows fabrication of IC on silicon wafers with a higher resolution. A light source generates specific wavelengths of light. A digital mirror device (DMD) reflects the emitted light onto a condensing lens. The DMD can receive image data with a pattern of ICs to be fabricated on a silicon wafer and reflects the emitted light to match this image data. The light is focused through a condensing lens onto a scattering medium which randomizes the direction of the received light rays. These scattered beams are received by wave-front shaping modules, descrambled and generated into focused laser beams. These focused beams are then used to write on the wafer.

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