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A  top  
Aberrations, Lens

Any deviation of the real performance of an optical system (lens) from its ideal performance.


In the photolithography process alignment is the process of overlaying the pattern on the mask/reticle to the previous layer on the wafer.


The method of heating the substrate to repair crystalline damage, to restore lattice structure and to electically activate the dopants.

B  top  

The range of wavelengths that is used to illuminate the mask, and thus to expose the resist.

C  top  

An optical system made up of both refractive elements (lenses) and reflective elements (mirrors).

Cost of Consumables (CoC)

The total cost of operating a system, plant, etc. For lithography tools, it includes cost of replacement materials and consumables.

Critical Dimension (CD)

The size (width) of a feature printed in resist, measured at a specific height above the substrate. Also called the linewidth or feature width.

D  top  
Deep Ultraviolet Light

A range of light colors, beyond what human beings can see, on the violet side of the spectrum.

Depth of Focus


The total range of focus which can be tolerated, that is, the range of focus that keeps the resulting printed feature within  a variety of specifications (such as linewidth, sidewall angle, resist loss and exposure latitude).

Design Rule

Refers to the device (circuit) design. The smallest device dimensions images on the wafer's surface. Also referred to as geometries, critical dimensions or feature sizes.


The propagation of light in the presence of boundries. It is the property of light which causes the wavefront to bend as it passes an edge.

DUV Lithography

DUV lithography is a key enabling technology that allows the semiconductor industry to meet the exact specifications and manufacturing requirements for volume production of today's advanced semiconductor chips with 0.25 micron and below design rules.

Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM)

An integrated circuit used for memory storage.

E  top  
Excimer Lasers

Excimer lasers provide high-power light for precision DUV photolithography tools essential to the volume production of semiconductors with features below 0.25 micron. Excimer laser light is generated by mixing two gases, such as Krypton and Fluoride (KrF) or Argon and Fluoride (ArF) inside a chamber, then applying a short electrical charge.

EUV Lithography

Lithography using light of a wavelength in the range of about 5nm to 50nm, with about 13nm being the most common.

Extreme ultraviolet (EUV)

Deemed the next-generation lithography solution path in imaging critical dimensions below .05 micron, EUV lithography utilizes light far beyond what human beings can see, with wavelengths in a range of about 5nm to 50nm, with about 13nm being the most common.

F  top  

The facility (building) in which semiconductor devices are fabricated. Also called a wafer fab or a semiconductor fabrication facility


The position of the plane of best focus of the optical system relative to some reference plane, such as the top surface of the resist, measured along the optical axis.

I  top  
Integrated Circuit (IC)

Many transistors, resistors, capacitors, etc., fabricated and connedted together to make a circuit on one monlithic slab of semiconductor material.

L  top  
Light Source

The illumination source, such as an excimer laser, needed by photolithography tools in order to image the pattern of the circuit.


The width of a feature printed in resist, measured as a specific height above the substrate. The measurement of the shorter dimension of lines or spaces comprising the patterns formed when manufacturing devices. Also referred to as critical dimension (CD) or feature width.


A method of producing three-dimensional relief patterns on a substrate.

M  top  

A glass or quartz plate containing information (encoded as a variation in transmittance and/or phase) about the features to be printed. Also called a photomask or a reticle.

Micron (µ)

A unit of measurement equal to one millionth of a meter. One thousand microns is equal to one millimeter. A human hair is about 100 microns thick.

Moore's Law

Named for Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, the observation that the number of transistors on a typical chip doubles about every eighteen months.

N  top  

Lithography involving the printing of ultra small features, typically on the order of nanometers in size.

Nanometer (nm)

A unit of measurement equal to one thousandth of a micron.

Numerical Aperture

The sine of the maximum half-angle of light which can make it through a lens, multiplied by the index of refraction of the media.

O  top  
Optical Density

The base 10 logarithm of the intensity transimttance of a material of a given thickness.

Optical Lithography

Lithography method which uses light to print a pattern in a photosensitive material. Also called photolithography.

Optical Proximity Correction (OPC)

A method of selectively changing the shapes of pattern on the mask in order to more exactly obtain the desired printed patterns on the wafer.

Optical Proximity Effect (OPE)

Proximity effects that occur during optical lithography.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

OEE is a sophisticated cost management measure designed to help chipmakers improve factory/tool productivity, efficiency and quality.

P  top  

The process of lighography (producing a patern that covers portions of the substrate with resist) followed by etching (selective removal of material not covered by resist) or otherwise transferring the pattern into the substrate.


A process of imaging complex circuit patterns onto a photosensitive material, which is used to provide a physical barrier for the processing of semiconductor devices. The method uses light to print a pattern in a photosensitive material.


A photosensitive material which forms a three-dimensional relief image by exposure to light and allows the transfer of the image into the underlying substrate.


The sum of the linewidth and spacewidth for a repeating pattern of lines and spaces.

Proximity Effect

A variation in the size of a printed feature as a function of the sizes and positions of nearby features.

S  top  

A photolithography tool used in the production of semiconductor devices. This camera-like step-and-scan tool projects the image of a circuit from a ìmaster imageî onto a photosensitized silicon wafer.


An electronic material utilized in the manufacture of devices used in a variety of applications including computer, automotive and telecommunications products.


A photolithography tool used in the production of semiconductor devices. A stepper works by transferring the image of a circuit or component from a master image onto a small portion of the wafer surface. The wafer is then moved or stepped, and the image is exposed once again onto another area. This process is repeated until the entire wafer surface is exposed.


The film stack, including the wager, on which the resist is coated.

W top  

A round, thin slice of single-crystal silicon that forms the foundation for semiconductor processing. Also called the substrate, a current generation wafer is eight inches in diameter, the thickness of a credit card, weighs about a third of a pound, and is polished to a mirror finish on one side.


The length of the light wave, usually measured from crest to crest, which determines its color. Common units of measurement are micrometer (micron), nanometer and Angstrom.

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