Supernova HHG

High-Performance X-ray Lasers for the Semiconductor Industry

The Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) will fund a development project for a high-performance laser to be developed by DESY and the start-up Class 5 Photonics starting January 2022. The goal of the collaboration is to develop a high-performance laser with ultrashort X-ray pulses that can be used as a measuring instrument in quality assurance.

"High power X-ray ultrashort pulse laser (Supernova HHG)", is devised and will be developed as a highly efficient X-ray source, which can enable an efficiency increase of previous laser systems by one to two orders of magnitude. The collaboration between DESY and Class 5 Photonics is supported by the research team for femtochemistry and cluster physics at DESY led by Dr. Tim Laarmann.

Supernova HHG, the name of the new laser system, is designed to be particularly important for the semiconductor industry, where transistor structures of only a few nanometers in size are being produced. In this way a higher packing density can be realized, leading to an enhanced performance of electronics. For example, the latest processors in smartphones and 5G technology rely on these transistor structures. Laser-driven X-ray sources can be used for process optimization and monitoring. Robert Riedel, CEO and co-founder of Class 5 Photonics, explains: "Today's lab-scale X-ray sources would require several hours for the measurement processes. In a chip factory, long down times are not acceptable. With our idea, the measurement process could be reduced to minutes." He adds: "We are now in the position to develop a working high-performance laser, which will provide the potential to quickly generate advantages for the semiconductor industry."

DESY will be responsible for the characterization and control of the frequency conversion. Class 5 Photonics will be in designing the laser architecture, the beam guidance, and tuning the laser for optimal generation of extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV) and soft X-ray radiation (SXR). In addition, the start-up will establish the developed X-ray source in the market.

Dr. Arik Willner, Chief Technology Officer DESY, highlights the importance of photonics as an enabling technology: "This project demonstrates DESY's competence and excellence in the field of photonics and, above all, the relevance that this key technology also has for other industries. In this context for the all-important semiconductor industry."

Class 5 Photonics was founded in 2014 in Hamburg as a spin-off from DESY and the Helmholtz Institute Jena. The young company has currently 14 employees and produces the most powerful femtosecond lasers on the market that can be successively adjusted to the desired frequency. Class 5's office and laboratories are located in the newly inaugurated incubator “Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld” on the DESY campus and are in close proximity to the collaborating research team for femtochemistry and cluster physics at DESY.

ZIM is a nationwide, technology- and industry-open funding program of the BMWi for medium-sized companies and for business-related research institutions that cooperate with them.

More information about Class 5:



  • 2022/01/06

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