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Intel, TSMC to tap ASML's EUV litho tool

Posted: 16 Jun 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:extreme ultraviolet? EUV? lithography?

Hynix Semiconductor, IMEC, Intel, Samsung, Toshiba and possibly Taiwan Semiconductor Manufaturing Co. are the initial customers for ASML Holding NV's "pre-production" extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tool, according to an analyst.

As previously reported, ASML slightly delayed the delivery schedule for its "pre-production" EUV lithography tool by a quarter or so. The "pre-production" tool will be shipped by mid-2010.

To date, however, ASML has not disclosed the customer names for the machine. "ASML and Cymer (are) still the leaders in EUV," said C.J. Muse, an analyst with Barclays Capital, in a report. Cymer Inc. is making the critical power source for the EUV tool.

"ASML is on track to ship its first EUV tools in 2010," Muse said. "We count six tools including one to each of the following: Samsung, Intel, Toshiba, Hynix, IMEC. We also understand TSMC may be interested in securing a tool, and may take the one EUV tool ASML was planning to keep in-house for development work."

Intel is a somewhat surprising customer. The chip giant is also working with ASML rival Nikon Corp. in EUV. Nikon is building an EUV tool.

At the recent SPIE Advanced Lithography conference, TSMC disclosed its lithography roadmap and said it is still backing maskless technology for future devices. TSMC has not committed to EUVyet.

Based on a 13nm wavelength technology, EUV is not targeted for production until the 15nm node in 2013 or 2014. Some say EUV won't be used for production fabs until 2016. Others say it won't work at all.

Originally, EUV was targeted for the 65nm node, but the technology has been pushed out due to the lack of power sources, resists, defect-free masks and other technologies.

Cymer and others are scrambling to devise the power source. "In turn, Cymer is planning to ship its first revenuable EUV laser to ASML in Q2 09 with revenues expected in 2010," Muse said.

"There are still questions as to whether EUV will be ready for prime-time so soon, the important one being source power and lifetime of the light source," the analyst said. "The source power is connected with the throughput and it appears that the next stop in the roadmap is to go for a 200W powered source from the current 100W. If these plans are realized, then the throughput could be higher than 100 wafers per hour. Still, it bears repeating that a lot of the background infrastructure still remains in development."

ASML of the Netherlands claims that it has processed 28nm devices with its R&D EUV lithography tool. With that and future tools, AMD, IBM and others are developing a 22nm "test chip," with plans to embark on a similar program at the 15nm node.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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