Always Be Curious #177: Superconductor LK-99, gaming in Japan, and numerical aperture to the rescue
This week in ABC: news about a new superconducting material spreads like wildfire, a guide to gaming in Japan, and lithography with higher numerical aperture was and will be the savior of Moore's Law.
📅 Due to an upcoming holiday break, the next ABC will publish Sun 20 Aug
In news about chip innovation and lithography, you often only read about changes in wavelength of light as the magic trick. But in this week’s ABC, there are two articles that spotlight the importance of numerical aperture (NA) to finer resolution lithography. NA basically determines how much information about the blueprint of a chip can be encoded into a light beam, which then prints that blueprint on silicon.
The first article on IEEE Spectrum was written by my colleague Jan van Schoot, who co-architected “High-NA EUV”. This is our upcoming lithography system using extreme ultraviolet light of 13.5 nanometer and a higher numerical aperture of 0.55 (instead of 0.33). It will yield yet more computing power for the chips of 2025 and beyond. 🔥 Jan rightfully spotlights this next-gen ASML technology as “the machine that could keep Moore’s Law on track.” The second piece was written by yours truly for asml.com about immersion lithography, an innovation that “saved Moore’s Law” a couple of decades ago by cranking up the numerical aperture through the perceived barrier of 1. 💪
Coincidence to see both articles out this week? Completely. 😬 They show how a step-change in higher numerical aperture is a direct enabler of Moore’s Law: immersion lithography saved it back in the 2000s with a blazing fast R&D track to help get the 65-nanometer node in production, while the next-gen EUV machine is currently being assembled in our Veldhoven cleanrooms and will keep Moore’s Law going into the Angstrom era.
Go Team ASML. 😎💪🇳🇱
Have a good week, stay safe and sound,
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👨💻The round-up in sci-tech💡
A tentative but less nebulous step toward superconductor-fueled electronics.
Experts doubt claims that LK-99 is a room-temperature superconductor set to open up a future of levitating trains and quantum tech. Andrew McCalip wants to see for himself.
The tech billionaire has become the dominant power in satellite internet technology. The ways he is wielding that influence are raising global alarms.
Marc Raibert believes robots can do more than dance
Whether you enter the big green pipe to Super Nintendo World, or want to rummage through rare games in Electric Town, Japan is a video game paradise
Games have been using forms of AI for years, but what does the industry think of the latest tech?
As Elon Musk's Twitter stumbled, Mark Zuckerberg pushed for a new app to rival it. The result, Threads, has reinvigorated the struggling social media giant.
🤓This week in chips⚠
The next trick to tinier transistors is high-numerical-aperture EUV lithography
Find out how immersion lithography triggered a paradigm shift in chip manufacturing.
Since the second half of 2022, the memory down cycle has seen demand declining, inventories piling up, and prices continuing to fall.
US and European officials are growing increasingly concerned about China’s accelerated push into the production of older-generation semiconductors and are debating new strategies to contain the country’s expansion.
News out of China is that company SMEE will launch its first 28-nanometer homegrown lithography machine at the year-end.
China's telecommunications giant Huawei is planning to restart designing mobile phone chips, circumventing export controls, said Nikkei.
China and the West are ratcheting up their trade war, and companies must find a way to adapt.
The state's largest private employer says it will step up microchip manufacturing as Oregon has set aside big money for the industry.
📈By the numbers📉
AMD reported an 18% decline in year-over-year revenue in the second quarter and issued a sales forecast that trailed analysts' estimates.
❤️For the love of tech❤️
Always Be Curious is the personal newsletter of Sander Hofman, Senior Creative Content Strategist at ASML. Opinions expressed in this curated newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.