Abstract This paper describes the role of single wafer processing in the development of sub-quarter micron silicon integrated circuits (ICs). The issues related to device processing, choice of materials, performance, reliability, and manufacturing are covered. Single wafer processing based rapid photothermal processing (dominant photons with wavelength less than about 800 nm) is an ideal answer to almost all the thermal processing requirements of current and future Si ICs. For process integration, a new model for process optimization based on minimization of thermal stress is proposed. For breaking the sub-100 nm manufacturing barriers, high throughput lithography based on direct writing is a proposed solution.