Almost every electronics product today from refrigerators to mobile phones are dependent on semiconductor chips. These chips are create by a complex manufacturing process that depends on a very special kind of light called Excimer lasers. Gigaphoton is one of the few companies in the world today that supply semiconductor manufacturers with equipment that provides this kind of light. Without Excimer lasers, all the chips that power almost every electronic product would not exists today.
The process of making chips is very similar to the process used in the old film photography days to develop picutres. In fact the process is even called "photolithography". The basic idea is to transpose an image pattern on to a photo-sensitive material using light. In photography, the image pattern is the film negative and the photo-sensitive material is the photo paper.
In photolithography, or simply lithography, the image pattern on a trasparent plate called a mask which contains detailed patterns of a chip circuit and the photo-sensitive material is an extremely smooth, silicon disc called a wafer. But you can't create chips using regular light. You need a special kind of light.
Lasers take their name from the acronym Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, and consist of artificial light obtained by amplifying light (electromagnetic waves) using a resonator. Laser beams have such physical characteristics as excellent directivity and convergence, the ability to constantly maintain wavelengths, etc., and are used in leading edge processing applications with high added value.
Excimer refers to a condition where molecular elements are in a highly excited and unstable state. Normally, atoms and molecules move with a specific energy. If they receive extra energy from an external source, these atoms and molecules move with higher energy. This is called an excited state. After a while the atoms and molecules release this extra energy and return to their normal energy state. When this happens, the released energy is transformed into light. This process is called "spontaneous emission." When this light collides with other atoms and molecules that have high energy, light with the same properties is emitted. This is called "stimulated emission."