In one FEL swoop

“I suppose in about fortnight we shall be told that he has been seen in San Francisco. It is an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Lately, many of my colleagues have been leaving DOE light sources (Berkeley Lab and SLAC National Lab) to work for startup companies, and it seems that they all try to build better sources (probably based on Free Electron Lasers.)

Such companies are Tau Systems, xLight and a third one which seems to be stealth but looks light a giant black hole, given the pool of talent it managed to attract.

Good EUV sources have always been a problem, and the current solution using laser pulsed plasma, blasting 40kW of CO2 laser power onto 100um tin beads at khz rates to generate ~200W of EUV is totally crazy, but it works. Still, there must be better ways to do it, and given the unit cost of a EUV litho scanner ($200M), improving the uptime and productivity even by a few percent would be extremely valuable…

I’m wishing good luck to my colleagues going his route, this is quite exciting!