As a part of the acquisition announcement regarding ASML's acquisition of Cymer, the two companies provided an update regarding development of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tools. ASML claims it is on-track to develop high-performance EUV manufacturing tools by 2014.
ASML’s 6 pre-production NXE:3100 EUV systems, capable of resolution performance compatible with the 22nm node in single patterning mode, have exposed more than 23 000 wafers at customer sites with good overlay and imaging performance, enabling semiconductor device recipe development and confirmation of infrastructure progress. The successor system, the NXE:3300B, is capable of resolution performance compatible with the 14nm node in single patterning mode. This system has already shown overlay down to 1.3nm and imaging down to 16nm in a full-field single exposure using new illumination technology. Progress continues on improving the productivity of the EUV systems currently limited by the light source.
Cymer’s EUV light sources have for some time been exposing wafers at up to 11W source power at customer facilities, resulting in NXE:3100 productivity of up to 7 wafers per hour. ASML and Cymer jointly made significant progress during the summer and have now proven in laboratories a sustained 30W source exposure power potential, which would enable the NXE:3300B to expose 18 wafers per hour. ASML’s specified target remains at 105 Watts or 69 wafers per hour (wph), to be achieved for 2014 microchip production.
The current accumulated EUV exposure experience at customers, the successful demonstration of the NXE:3300B imaging and overlay and the proof of concept of up to 30W Watts source power are expected to support the following plan:
- The deliveries of the first 11 NXE:3300B systems in 2013 to be installed at customers for R&D.
- Additional orders for NXE:3300B systems intended for production in 2014 at a minimum specification targeting 69 wph. ASML has currently received 4 commitments and expects another 4 to 8 within the next 6 months.