ASML, the world’s largest maker of equipment for manufacturing of semiconductors, said on Wednesday that the progress with creation of EUV tools is evident and that the company will ship two new experimental EUV systems to customers in Q2 and Q3 2013. Unfortunately, the company had to admit that customers will start production of chips using EUV technology
"Foundry and logic [companies] preparing for very lithography-intensive 14nm - 20nm technology nodes to be used for next-generation mobile end-products. […] EUV technology industrialization continues to make steady progress on the trajectory set with the introduction of the improved source concept last year: firstly, the EUV light sources have now been demonstrated at 55W with adequate dose control; secondly, the scanners themselves have demonstrated production-worthy, 10nm node compatible imaging and overlay specifications,” said Eric Meurice, president and chief executive officer of ASML.
ASML is preparing the shipments and installations of the first two NXE:3300B EUV systems, which will happen in Q2 and Q3. These systems will be used by customers to validate EUV lithography in preparation for its adoption in high-volume manufacturing. ASML will continue to develop the NXE:3300 to achieve the source power and throughput required. ASML has received commitments for 7 NXE:3300B systems, in addition to the existing 11 system orders, and expect more with continued source power progress.
Imaging of the NXE:3300B has improved to 13nm in a single exposure, and it has also shown to be capable of 9nm resolution using spacer double patterning technology, which has taken optical litography imaging resolution below 10nm.
Progress towards an NXE:3300B EUV light source that is powerful enough for high-volume manufacturing has been encouraging: the EUV source performs at up to 55W, corresponding to a NXE:3300B throughput of 43 wafers per hour, a substantial improvement from the 40W we reported three months ago. ASML’s specified target remains at 105W or 69 wafers per hour (wph), to be achieved for 2015 microchip production, which is a year later than the company thought just a little over six month ago.
“We therefore confirm our expectation of the ramp of EUV-enabled semiconductor production in 2015, supported by our NXE:3300B scanners, two of which are being prepared for shipment and installation in Q2 and Q3,” said Mr. Meurice.