The History of Microlithography

A history of microlithography is yet to be written. I am collecting some data for such an effort, and am anxious for help by people with personal experience.

Here is a presentation (PDF) outlining milestones in the development of photolithography tools, organized by company. It's actually more of a tool company history. (Updated on 8-29-2011)
Milestones in Optical Lithography Tool Suppliers

Atsuhiko Kato has developed a great timeline of lithography tool developments as well:
Kato's Timeline of Lithography Tool Development

Here are some good published papers on the topic of semiconductor lithography history (available in PDF format by clicking on the titles):

  1. C. G. Willson, R. A. Dammel, A. Reiser, “Photoresist Materials:  A Historical Perspective”, SPIE Vol. 3051 (1997), pp. 28-41.
  2. J. H. Bruning, “Optical Lithography – Thirty years and three orders of magnitude”, SPIE Vol. 3051 (1997), pp. 14-27.
  3. T. Matsuyama, Y. Ohmura, D. M. Williamson, "The Lithographic Lens: its history and evolution", SPIE Vol. 6154 (2006) p. 615403.
  4. J. H. Bruning, “Optical Lithography … 40 years and holding”, SPIE Vol. 6520 (2007) p. 652004.
  5. C. A. Mack, “Thirty Years of Lithography Simulation,” Optical Microlithography XVII, Proc., SPIE Vol. 5754 (2005), pp. 1-12.
  6. M. L. Schattendburg, "History of the “Three Beams” Conference, the Birth of the Information Age
    and the Era of Lithography Wars
    ", self published.

(Thanks to SPIE, Grant Willson, John Bruning, Mark Schattenburg, and Tomoyuki Matsuyama for allowing me to post these papers here.)


Some essay's I've written on lithography related to history and trends: Essays


Other Resources:

The Chip History Center

Smithsonian Chip Collection

The Computer History Museum

IEEE History Center


If you have any anecdotes or histories of lithography development in the semiconductor industry that you'd like to share, please email me at