Press Release

Winfried Kaiser honored with the SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography

Recognition of decades-long commitment to the semiconductor industry

26 February 2020 · 4 min read

Oberkochen, Germany / San José, USA | 26 February 2020 | ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology

Winfried Kaiser, head of Product Strategy of ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT) and, as the highest point of his professional career Fellow of the company, has been honored with the 2020 Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). Kaiser received the prize during the SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference in San José, California. The award is considered to be the highest honor in microlithography.

25 years ago, Kaiser launched the development program for lithography with extreme ultra-violet light (EUV) in Europe. Starting in 2019, EUV lithography, a revolutionary manufacturing program using a wavelength of 13.5 nanometers, has made the volume manufacture of enormously powerful microchips with extremely fine structures possible. Kaiser was also a key figure in the development of lithography technologies such as the Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) system which are now industry standards – particularly lithography with light wavelengths of 248 and 193 nanometers as well as immersion lithography.

Dr. John Greivenkamp, President of SPIE, honored "With his technical know-how and exemplary commitment, Winfried Kaiser has advanced the development of ultra-modern lithographic optical systems including EUV lithography which has made the continuance of Moore's law possible. As well as other products, ZEISS develops and manufactures this type of lithography optics which are used in wafer scanners for the manufacture of increasingly powerful microchips.

Professor Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of the ZEISS Group, congratulated Kaiser on the award, "Over more than 35 years Winfried Kaiser has worked his way up to the role of a designer and source of ideas who recognizes market opportunities and enjoys the greatest possible esteem among international experts. As well as contributing to global recognition of ZEISS as a technology and market leader in the field of lithography optics, he has also added impetus to greater economic value-added in innovative areas such as EUV technology."

  • Winfried Kaiser was honored with the SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography
    SPIE / Marty Moehl

    Presenting the award (from left): Will Conley, SPIE Fellow and Manager at ASML-Cymer; Winfried Kaiser; Dr. Chris A. Mack, SPIE Board of Directors and CTO of Fractilia LLC; Dr. Bruce W. Smith, SPIE Fellow and professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology; Dr. Kafai Lai SPIE Fellow and from the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center; Photo: © SPIE / Marty Moehl

Dr. Markus Weber, member of the ZEISS Management Board and head of the SMT segment added "Congratulations are well and truly due to Winfried Kaiser for the recognition he has just received for his outstanding contributions in the field of microlithography – a singular honor which has only been awarded to a very select group of people; it is also a significant award for a very special colleague without whom SMT would probably not be as it is today. All ZEISS lithography optics are based on his product strategy and his initiatives which demand an in-depth understanding of high-performance optics, their application and his feeling for the needs of a dynamic market and its customers."

At the award ceremony Kaiser commented, "I am indeed pleased to receive this outstanding award. But the award is not just a tribute to me personally but also to the entire ZEISS team and management as well as our strategic partner ASML. This prize is an honor in the international arena for our ground-breaking developments in optical lithography such as EUV – this fills me with pride."

After studying physics at university Kaiser started work for ZEISS and after a range of different positions which included head of the Semiconductor Development Laboratory and Product Development he has been head of Lithography Optics Product Strategy since 2003. In 2007, he was nominated as the ZEISS Group's first Fellow, the highest level of technical ladder. One year later SPIE appointed him as a SPIE Fellow. In 2014 Kaiser received the SEMI Sales and Marketing Excellence Award.

He is the 16th person to receive the SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography since its inauguration in 2004, an honor which was also extended in 2008 to Martin van den Brink, Co-President & Chief Technology Officer von ASML. Frits Zernike, who gave his name to the award, was a Dutch chemist, physicist and mathematician who received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1953 for the invention of the phase contrast microscope. The SPIE Awards recognize and honor the outstanding contributions of individuals in the world of science.

Press Contact

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 more than 6.4 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2019).

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.

With over 31,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 60 sales and service companies, 30 production sites and 25 development sites. 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.

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 Pleasanton, CA and Peabody, MA (USA).

About SPIE

SPIE is the International Society for Optics and Photonics and is headquartered in Bellingham in Washington State, USA. It was established in 1955 with the objective of advancing light-based technologies. A not-for-profit organization with 255,000 members in 183 countries, it promotes new technologies by an inter-disciplinary exchange of information, scientific publications and education. SPIE organizes and is a partner in many major conferences in North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific Region at which more than 35,000 scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs present and exchange information about innovations from a spectrum of optical technologies and their application.

Press Photos

  • Winfried Kaiser honored with the SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography

    Presenting the award (from left): Will Conley, SPIE Fellow and Manager at ASML-Cymer; Winfried Kaiser; Dr. Chris A. Mack, SPIE Board of Directors and CTO of Fractilia LLC; Dr. Bruce W. Smith, SPIE Fellow and professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology; Dr. Kafai Lai SPIE Fellow and from the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.

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