Press Release

Shaping the future of microchip manufacturing

Erik Loopstra and Vadim Banine named European Inventor Award 2018 finalists

24 April 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.

Portrait of Jeannine Rapp
Press Contact Jeannine Rapp Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH
Portrait of Jeannine Rapp
Press Contact Jeannine Rapp Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. The ZEISS Group develops, produces and distributes measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cinema lenses, binoculars and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided up into the four segments Research & Quality Technology, Medical Technology, Vision Care/Consumer Products and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. The ZEISS Group is represented in more than 40 countries and has over 50 sales and service locations, more than 30 manufacturing sites and about 25 research and development centers around the globe.

In fiscal year 2016/17 the company generated revenue approximating €5.3 billion with around 27,000 employees. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).

Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology

With its broad 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 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 Pleasanton, CA (USA). During fiscal year 2016/17, the segment generated revenue of €1.2 billion and employed around 2,900 people.

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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