Perhaps, regarding as the viewpoint of mass-production, the approach to improve the common DOF of the different characteristics of pattern,ex. iso- vs. dense- ,or line vs. space, is more practical and economic than that to put all resource to enhance the resolution.
The dream of e-beam direct write has been around as long as x-ray lithography, and just as successful. The e-beam problems of throughput, data management and error correction simply cannot be solved in time, or economically. EUV, or, more correctly, soft x-ray projection lithography, continues to suffer from very x-ray like problems of decades ago. The only technology with the potential to complement optical lithography is imprint, which essentially is optical lithography: it uses an I-line source, I-line resists, and quartz based photomasks. Defects are a more manageable challenge than those facing EBDW and SXPL (EUV), particularly in memory. Lithography will bifurcate into solutions for logic and solutions for memory.
E-beam is more mature than optical for sure. But electrons, primary, photo-, or secondary, are prone to random disturbance. And they go into the substrate. So the interest in DSA, though it seems sensitive to the guiding pattern size.
Truly a shame that more 'professionals' don't look more seriously at e-beam lithography themselves, and not take the word of people in the photomask industry, who would directly be threatened if mask-less lithography came into popularity. E-beam litho has demonstrated nano-level capability for more than 20 years, with comparative overlay capability equaling the best aligners out there. Yes, throughput is an issue, but at 1/6 (or less) the cost of an good immersion stepper, you can buy several!!! Truth is that even the finest nano-imprint tool or EUV stepper will require masks, and they will only be available via e-beam lithography (as well as being ridiculously expensive and short lived). Direct write is a viable technology - today!
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.