Hans Pfeiffer, Consultant
Hans Pfeiffer Proprietor of HCP Consulting Services
"If you remember, there have been quite a number of alternatives in lithography. One of them was X-ray, a large program that was supposed to extend lithographic capability beyond optical lithography. But optical lithography never fell off the cliff. And that's the case today. However, I think we're seeing the cliff a little bit closer now, and that's what mobilizes all of these additional resources to finally come up with a practical alternative or solution.
"There are sure no winners right now. That's the reason why many different technologies are being pursued. The top priority is still to further work on 193 nm and extend that to the absolute. This provides some time for EUV, which is the next major contender.
"But are we headed in the wrong direction? There are many different directions being pursued, but none has really so far exceeded EUV. Most large semiconductor companies are pretty much counting on EUV to be there.
"EUV always looked like the impossible dream. But there are tremendous resources behind it. Is EUV late? Yes. Everyone understands that lateness is not only inconvenient, but it's also expensive.
"Maskless lithography is struggling to regain a certain level of interest in the industry. E-beam had a very successful period and then basically went under. It did not keep up with Moore's Law."