“The SPIE Advanced Lithography conference begins with one word on everyone’s mind: coronavirus.” These are the first words I used in my blog post two years ago, just as the SPIE Advanced Lithography Symposium of 2020 was about to begin on February 23. I had no way of knowing that within three weeks pretty much the whole country would start locking down. That 2020 conference went off without any known coronavirus transmissions, thank goodness, and two+ years later I think that first sentence applies equally well today. Last year’s symposium was virtual, and this year’s has been postponed two months, just long enough to allow the Omicron variant to fad and for most of us to gather with more confidence.
It’s good to be live and in-person! I’ve already seen on Sunday several folks that I have only seen on Zoom for the last two years, and it is a great pleasure! The conference is promising to be a good one, effected though it is by the lingering impact of the pandemic. Virtually no one from Taiwan, Korea, or Japan has been able to attend, and participation from Europe is down significantly. Still, registration currently sits at 1,300 (as opposed to the pre-pandemic average of about 2,000), which is better than I was expecting. There were 390 paper submissions this year (in 2020, the number was about 500) and I’m hoping for a very good program.
There have been a couple of major changes in the symposium this year. The EUV and Optical Lithography conferences have merged (now called Optical and EUV Nanolithography), reflecting the continued mainstreaming of EUV lithography out of development and into semiconductor manufacturing. The topic of computational lithography, formerly homed in the Optical Lithography conference, now resides in the refocused DTCO and Computational Patterning conference. These are both good changes, and I look forward to seeing how they play out this week.