How ZEISS optical expertise is revolutionising the face of technology

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We all use smartphones, computers and other future tech gadgets on a daily basis, but did you know that ZEISS optical technology has recently helped to pioneer the next wave in smart technology set to transform our future devices? What’s more, this technology, which is known as Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography, has just been awarded the highly prestigious German Future Prize (Deutscher Zukunftspreis) 2020 at a digital summit in Berlin.

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What is Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography?

Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography is a revolutionary new technology that will enable higher performing, energy efficient and cost-effective microchips to be mass produced.
Created by a team of skilled experts from ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, TRUMPF Lasersystems for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, it has been developed over a 20-year period and is set to completely transform global digitalisation.
The initial research project entitled "EUV Lithography – New Light for the Digital Age" sought to reinvent the microchip. From the light source and the optical system in a mirror-filled vacuum through to the surface coating of the mirrors, the entire exposure technology was developed from scratch as part of the development process.
The team essentially created the world’s “most precise” mirror. A mirror so precise, it is said, that if a laser beam was directed onto its surface and then aimed at the moon, then that laser beam could still hit a target the size of a golf ball.
EUV technology is backed by more than 2,000 patents and is set to future-proof the digitalisation of our everyday lives ensuring that everything from artificial intelligence, state-of-the-art smartphones and automated driving applications could have this new, more powerful yet more cost effective technology at its heart.

Winning the German Future Prize

The German Future Prize (Deutscher Zukunftspreis) honours exceptional achievements in technology, engineering and life sciences and was presented to ZEISS (SMT), TRUMPF and Fraunhofer at a recent digital summit in Berlin by the German federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier.  Following the summit, the ‘mirror’ was presented to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the #DigitalGipfel20 where ZEISS CEO, Dr. Karl Lamprecht, gave a talk on “Digitalization as a Driver of a Sustainable Economy”.
This recognition cements a hugely successful 20-year German-European partnership whilst also positioning these businesses as global leaders in the semiconductor field.

Awarded the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2020 for their project "EUV Lithography - A New Light in the Digital Age" (from the left): German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier , Dr. Michael Kösters from TRUMPF Lasersystems for Semiconductor Manufacturing; Dr. Peter Kürz, ZEISS SMT segment and Dr. Sergiy Yulin from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF).

What impact will this make?

Already, this breakthrough is having a major impact on the economy in Germany where 3,300 high-tech jobs have been created. The impact on the tech of the future is astronomical with a ZEISS‘ chip potentially transforming the way that we see, hear and experience the world around us daily.

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