Several proceedings in the field of camera lenses enabled Carl Zeiss to deliver in 1968 optics to German company Telefunken for its printer for the production of unique hard copies. In 1977, Carl Zeiss manufactured the S-Planar® 10/0.42, the first lens to allow production of 1 µm structures in an opto-lithographic process. This laid the groundwork for the first wafer stepper. The current partnership with Philips subsidiary ASML began in 1983 with the delivery of the first projection and illumination optics from Carl Zeiss. This business relation became a strategic partnership during fiscal year 1992/93. The new millennium also marked the start of a new era for Carl Zeiss in the semiconductor industry – especially with its 193 nm technology, which had triggered the next technology leap in the field of optical lithography from 1998 onwards. As a result of the increasing success the Carl Zeiss Group, the decision was made to bundle the light, electron and ion-optical technologies into an independently operating business group. In October 2001, the wholly owned subsidiary Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH with its subsidiaries Carl Zeiss Laser Optics GmbH, Carl Zeiss SMS GmbH and Carl Zeiss NTS was born (Carl Zeiss NTS switched to the Microscopy business group in 2010). The years to follow witnessed numerous innovations in the field of lithography optics for microchip fabrication, namely the Starlith optics which have set numerous milestones such as the use of the immersion method and the simultaneously application of lens elements and mirror systems, which first appeared on the Starlith 1700i. In 2006, a new plant was officially inaugurated in Oberkochen. It is the world’s most modern development and production center for lithography optics. Starlith 19xxi, produced from 2007 onwards, became the biggest success not only in the history of the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology business group, but also at Carl Zeiss as the top-selling product of the company. In 2012, the volume production of EUV optics commenced, marking a new era in optical lithography.
Paul Rudolph designs the Planar® lens, providing good anastigmatic field flattening and spherical and chromatic aberration correction at an initial aperture of f/4.
Alexander Smakula invents the procedure of anti-reflection coating. This T-coating revolutionized optics and allowed the design of lenses with extreme correction.
125 mm S-Planar® f/2.8 lens for the projection of masks, corrected for 546 nm (alignment) and 405 nm (exposure), diffraction-limited for 405 nm.
First Printer (Telefunken) with Zeiss Optics from Zeiss Photo Division.
Carl Zeiss supplies the optics for the world's first wafer stepper: the S-Planar® 10/0.42 is the first lens to allow the opto-lithographic production of 1 µm structures.
First Projection and Illumination Optics for Philips/ASML
Start of Strategic Alliance with ASML
193 nm technology from Carl Zeiss leads the way for the next technological leap in the semiconductor industry.
From October, the Semiconductor Technology Group operates independently under the name Carl Zeiss SMT.
Carl Zeiss SMT AG applies the immersion method long used in microscopy to Starlith® semiconductor lenses for microchip fabrication.
The MeRiT electron beam mask repair system receives the Innovation Award of German Industry.
The Starlith® 1700i lithography lens for microchip fabrication is the first system of its kind to combine lens elements and mirror systems.
Acquistion of NaWoTec
Official inauguration of the new plant of Carl Zeiss SMT AG, the world's most most modern development and production center for lithography optics.
Acquistion of Pixer Technology Karmiel
The new MeRiT® HR 32 mask repair system for the 32 nm technology node is presented at Semicon Japan and attracts significant customer interest.