Press Release

Shaping the future of microchip manufacturing

Erik Loopstra and Vadim Banine named European Inventor Award 2018 finalists

APR 24, 2018 · 2 min read

Munich, Oberkochen / Germany | 24 April 2018 | ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology

Erik Loopstra and Vadim Banine have been nominated for their inventions in the field of Extreme Ultraviolet Lithographie (EUV). Erik Loopstra, originally from ASML, has been working since years at ZEISS business group Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology closely with ASML and ZEISS employees. Vadim Banine is Director of Research of ASML.

Erik Loopstra and Vadim Banine have been nominated by the European Patent Office (EPO) as finalists for the European Inventor Award 2018 in the category "Industry". The key invention of systems engineer Erik Loopstra, physicist Vadim Banine and their research and engineering teams in the field of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) have made it possible to create geometric patterns on silicon wafers – the basis of the microchip – at a previously unprecedented level of detail. The resulting process not only upholds Moore’s Law, but also makes it possible in the future to create chips with details as small as 8 nanometres.

  • European Inventor Award 2018

    Vadim Banine (left), Director of Research of ASML, and systems engineer Erik Loopstra, in front of a model of a ASML EUV lithography system.

After two decades of development in close cooperation with research partners and suppliers, ASML and its strategic partner Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH brought EUV to market in a complete product in 2017. Now it is possible to produce chips, marking a generational shift over older methods, which are more time-consuming than EUV Lithography and require several passes through the lithographic printing. The technology promises to save chipmakers time and money in the production of the next generations of chips that will drive innovations in fields such as consumer electronics, health, entertainment, autonomous driving, robotics and artificial intelligence.

“With constantly increasing functionality, modern computer chips have to process ever larger amounts of data at an ever faster pace. At the same time, neither energy consumption nor production costs per chip should increase. This development can only be continued if the number of integrated circuits found on a microchip rises constantly. This is exactly, what EUV allows,” said Dr. Karl Lamprecht, Member of the Executive Board of the ZEISS Group and President and CEO of Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH. EPO President Benoît Battistelli adds: "By combining their respective skills as a physicist and systems engineer, Banine and Loopstra have significantly contributed to develop a technology for industrial use that will help manufacture the next generations of microchips.”

The winners of this year's edition of the EPO's annual innovation prize will be announced at a ceremony in Paris, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, on 7 June 2018.

The European Inventor Award is one of Europe's most prestigious innovation prizes. Launched by the European Patent Office in 2006, it honors individual inventors and teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of our times.

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Jeannine Rapp

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Jeannine Rapp


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling 8.8 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2022).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 13 percent of its revenue in research and development – this high level of expenditure has a long tradition at ZEISS and is also an investment in the future.

With over 38,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 30 production sites, 60 sales and service companies and 27 research and development facilities (status: 30 September 2022). Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.

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Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology

With its product portfolio and expertise, the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment of ZEISS covers a variety of key processes in the production of microchips. Its products include semiconductor manufacturing optics – notably lithography optics – as well as photomask systems and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing. Thanks to ZEISS technology, microchips are becoming increasingly smaller, more powerful, more energy-efficient and more affordable. The electronic applications of these ongoing enhancements enable global progress in many disciplines such as technology, electronics, communication, entertainment, mobility and energy. Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology is headquartered in Oberkochen. Other sites include Jena, Rossdorf and Wetzlar in Germany, as well as Bar Lev (Israel) and Dublin, CA and Danvers, MA (USA).

Press Photos

  • Nominees of the European Inventor Award 2018

    Vadim Banine (left), Director of Research of ASML, and systems engineer Erik Loopstra, in front of a model of a ASML EUV lithography system.

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