SPIE Microlithography Conference, Day 3 (Wednesday)

Hump day. The conference is half way over, more than half way over. Why am I so exhausted? Sure, there are conference events that start at 8am and go to 9pm every day, not to mention the breakfast meetings and late night dinners and hospitality suites. And my week began Sunday morning by teaching my all-day class on the “world according to image log-slope”. But still, I used to go to this conference and be just hitting my stride by Wednesday. It is an adrenaline-filled week with more important information and more important people than any other event in our industry by far. It is the epicenter of lithography intellect. Industry trends are created and demolished this week based on the humble reasonings and data of a few scientists. Companies will thrive or fade away based on how well they recognize and respond to these trends. Massive egos clash as one technology vies with another for industry momentum. And that momentum can be tangible at times. You can almost see the crowd abandon one approach as they rush to embrace a new technique, leaving the promoters of their now-withering idea with nothing but shattered dreams of lithography geek-fame. Some don’t admit defeat easily, blaming a conspiracy of companies and money-interests and the overall ignorance of their lithography brethren. But the wisdom of the lithography crowd has had an impressive track record – I dare say they have gotten every technology choice right so far. For those of us who live and breath lithography this week is incredibly exciting.
So why am I so tired? I guess I am just getting old. Changing the world is a young person’s game.

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