Microelectronics is arguably the single, most critical example of advanced manufacturing, representing a $442B/year economic engine that today drives every sector in the global economy, making it essential to the U.S. economy, and its physical and energy security. This tremendous economic engine has been enabled by the industry‚Äôs ability to continuously improve performance and lower unit costs at an annualized rate of 25-30% per year for the past half century…

The grand challenges in patterning science are to design materials and processes that:

  1. Efficiently harness high energy photons to perform selective chemical reactions that can be leveraged for atomically-precise patterning at the nanoscale
  2. Mitigate stochastic effects, i.e., the variability that arises from photon, atom and molecular scale variations that ultimately limit sub-nm level precision

The key scientific gaps preventing progress along the path described above include:

  • A fundamental understanding of EUV-radiation-driven chemical reactions has not been developed
  • Poorly controlled diffusion in reaction fronts with heterogeneous photoresists
  • Lack of understanding of solvation at nanointerfaces when developing the images
  • Lack of design rules to build self-assembling systems that at once satisfy the thermodynamic, kinetic and functional properties to perform as lithographic materials at dimensions below 10 nm.
  • Insufficient understanding of the chemical and physical phenomena in atom-removal or atom-additions during area-selective deposition or etching.