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ASML, Nikon tie in litho share race

Posted: 14 Dec 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ASML? Nikon? lithography tool?

In the battle for dominance in the lithography equipment market for 2005, it appears there is a tie between ASML Holding NV and Nikon Corp.

For 2005, preliminary data indicates that ASML of the Netherlands will retain the lead in revenues with a 53.2 percent share of the $4.8 billion market for new lithography tools, up from a 50.3 percent share in 2004, according to The Information Network.

ASML gained ground on the strength of its 193nm immersion tool, which sells for $26 million each, according to the research firm. In terms of sales, Japan's Nikon held a 31.3 percent share in 2005, up from 26.8 percent in 2004, according to the firm.

In terms of the number of new lithography tools sold in 2005, The Information Network anticipates that Nikon will regain the lead in unit shipments with a 39.3 percent share of the market, up from 34.1 percent in 2004.

Nikon is projected to be ahead of ASML in terms of unit shipments. In that category, ASML is expected to have a 32.7 percent share in 2005, down from 38.7 percent in 2004, according to the firm. Japan's Canon Inc. is believed to be in third place.

"While unit shipments were down 18.5 percent in 2005, average selling prices (ASPs) tools increased 17.2 percent," said Robert N. Castellano, president of The Information Network, in a report. "The large growth in immersion DUV-based tools will be responsible for the continued high growth in ASPs. Immersion 248-nm tools from ASML cost $26 million each versus $21 million for dry, and will increase to $27.2 million each in 2006."

Beyond the marketing hype, ASML and Nikon are running dead even on immersion lithography.

ASML is also developing two alpha EUV lithography tools for delivery some time in the second quarter with one going to the IMEC research center and the other headed to University of Albany nanotechnology campus, New York.

Nikon said that it will ship an EUV tool in the first half of 2007. EUV lithography is a likely next-generation chip processing technology, based on 13nm wavelength illumination, allowing chip makers to print features sizes of 32nm and below on integrated circuits.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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