The end of optical lithography has been so often predicted (incorrectly) that such predictions are now a running joke among lithographers. Yet optical lithography does have real, physical limitations and even more real economic limits, and an accurate estimation of these limits is essential for planning potential next generation lithography (NGL) efforts. This paper will review the two types of resolution limits in optical lithography: the pitch resolution, governed by the amount of spatial frequency information that can pass through an imaging lens, and the feature size resolution, limited by our ability to control feature size. Projecting the trends in these resolution limits, the capabilities of 193nm immersion lithography will be explored.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.