Bruce Smith: The 2021 SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography

The SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography recognizes outstanding accomplishments in microlithographic technology, especially those furthering the development of semiconductor lithographic imaging solutions
12 January 2021
Bruce Smith 2021 SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography
Bruce Smith, right, working with former PhD student Burak Baylav.

Bruce Smith has served as an active leader in microlithography for over 35 years, contributing extensively to the community's understanding of optical lithography and educating an entire generation of engineers who have, in turn, advanced related academic research and industry. Professor Smith has made multiple pioneering contributions across micro and nanolithography, including in the areas of optical materials, masking methods, patterning materials, and process technology. His early work on off-axis illumination paved the way for a revolution in practical illumination for scanners; he played a material role in the rapid deployment of 193 immersion lithography, having led early efforts to identify optimum immersion technology and materials; he identified enabling materials and methods for phase shift mask lithography; he highlighted the impact of polarization for multiple lithographic wavelengths; and he provided valuable research on the metrology and impact of aberrations in optical and EUV lithography.

Smith obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and, after several years in industry, he has served there as a professor since 1988. He has recently been named a Distinguished Professor in recognition of his significant contributions to RIT's Microelectronics and Microsystems Engineering programs. For SPIE, Smith has taken on roles ranging from SPIE Advanced Lithography symposium chair, leading the SPIE Society Awards Committee, publishing nearly 130 papers with SPIE, delivering numerous short courses, and serving as an Optical Microlithography conference chair and committee member. He became an SPIE Fellow Member in 2007.

"Professor Smith has already left a powerful legacy within the worldwide lithography community through his RIT students who have gone on to engineering and leadership roles at Intel, Mentor Graphics, Synopsys, KLA, Lam, ASML, and many other companies," notes Director of RET Development at Mentor Graphics John Sturtevant. "He always encourages and supports industry internships for his graduate students which has made them of immense practical value to future employers. But beyond that impactful legacy as a passionate educator, he is a brilliant researcher who has a unique human interface which is extremely approachable and personable. This combination has made him an extremely effectively leader and collaborator across the global lithography community."

Meet the other 2021 SPIE Society Award winners.

Read more about Bruce Smith and the SPIE Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography.

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