BACUS hosts a quarterly webinar

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Come learn about the basics of EUVL Mask Technology presented by Patrick Naulleau, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.


DATE: 9 February 2024 

TIME: 8:00 AM PT


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Featured article from the SPIE Digital Library

We look back at the work of Paul Ackmann for this quarter’s featured article from the SPIE archives. Paul passed away last year. His work continues to have a positive impact on the industry. Enjoy this article titled Factors that determine the optimum reduction factor for wafer steppers.

Important dates to note

  • Register now for SPIE Advanced Lithography + Patterning, 25-29 February 2024. Prices increase 9 February.
  • The call for papers opens in February for SPIE Photomask Technologies + EUV Lithography. Students: learn how to attend for free. The deadline will be in July.
  • BACUS scholarship: awarded to one full-time undergraduate or graduate student in the field of microlithography. The application opens in February.
  • Watch recordings of past photomask and lithography webinars on demand.

Changing without forgetting: Saying goodbye to two friends—the BACUS newsletter, and Paul Ackmann

Editorial by: Jed Rankin, BACUS President


We’ve all heard the adage that one of the facts of life is that change is constant. In our field, we all know that not only is it constant, but it’s required. To keep ourselves, our companies, and our industry relevant, we constantly adapt to a myriad of changes in technology, the supply chain, usage models, business environments, and more.


Whether it is in an individual, or in an organization, the ability and willingness to change or adapt are rightfully heralded and applauded as keys to success and longevity. But there are other key parts of the adaptation process that are often forgotten but deserve at least as much attention: observation and prediction. Change alone is not enough. Change must be made as an adaptation to the environment. In business, this might be in response to new technology or new competitors. In individuals, this might be in response to new assignments or new coworkers.


All businesses and individuals must make these changes. The ones that are most successful are the ones that not only drive changes to adapt to the changes in the environment as it is but as it will be. Having the knowledge, the skills, the background, and the vision to be able to predict the changes around you, as well as the trajectory of those changes, is what differentiates the good from the great among us.


Last month, the final edition of the BACUS Newsletter was published. Together with our partners at SPIE, the BACUS Steering Committee assessed that despite some recent changes in format and distribution method, some of the content, method, and frequency of the newsletter no longer made sense. The introduction of the webinar series last year has taken over some of the key missions of education, community, and communications in the photomask community which were previously served by the newsletter. As you see here, there were some aspects of the newsletter which had value and were hopefully of interest—the editorial and the featured article. In the upcoming months, we’ll be working to integrate these features into the communications about the webinar series, in an attempt to minimize intrusions into your inbox, while maximizing the value of the communications and activities.


Unfortunately, there was another big change to the photomask community last month: the passing of Paul Ackmann to ALS on December 2, 2023. Like many in the photomask and photolithography industries, throughout the course of my career, I crossed paths with Paul in many different ways: an adversary in contract negotiation, a customer of my technology, a peer in solving an industry-wide problem, and as a co-worker. But, of all of these roles, I was most honored to know Paul as a friend and a mentor for the last eight years. 


Throughout his long career, which started in 1X lithography, through running mask shops and helping develop EUV mask technology, Paul saw, participated, and drove innumerable changes: changes to the lithography, changes to the mask, changes to the companies, and changes to the industry. Paul’s success over his career can be attributed not only to his deep technical knowledge, his ability to drive change, or even his knowledge of the past, but in his ability to integrate it all to predict what changes were going to be needed, and his passion for communicating and implementing those changes.


Many people can make change. Fewer can observe the environmental changes and predict the needed change. Fewer still can integrate history to avoid previous missteps and relearning hard-won lessons. Finally, even fewer have the passion, energy, skills, and articulation to drive these changes through industries, organizations, and individuals who don’t initially share the vision. Paul was one of these few. I miss you, Paul. Your many friends and acquaintances miss you, and the industry misses you. But we’re also thankful to have known you, and for your contributions, to make each of us, and all of us, better.


Finally, as much as Paul loved his work, it paled in comparison to his passion for life. When I got tired of hearing about the problems with lithography, masks, or the semiconductor industry, it was always easy to distract Paul into talking about his other passions: Martha and his family, (including of course, his dogs), golf,  cheesecake, grilling, baking, solar power, home improvement, or the project-of-the-day. Paul is survived by his wife Martha Cobb Ackmann, children Stephen Ackmann (Jacklyn) of Troy, TX , Stacy Ackmann McQuage (Matthew) of Stafford, VA and grandchildren Vivian, Madison, Allie, Lindsey and James, brother David Ackmann (Cathy) of The Colony, TX.


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