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ASML, Nikon battle over Intel litho biz

Posted: 09 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lithography? Intel 22nm? immersion scanner?

ASML Holding NV and Nikon Corp. are fighting over the 22nm lithography business at Intel Corp but one analyst said both will share the 22nm business at Intel, with ASML grabbing some critical layers. One source said Intel's evaluation for lithography at 22nm is far from over.

For years, ASML and Nikon battled each other at Intel. More recently, the two companies shared the business for "critical layers" at 45nm. At 32nm, Nikon won the entire "critical layer" business at Intel.

At 22nm within Intel, ASML and Nikon will split the business. "Our checks reveal ASML has been designed into at least two layers, which likely corresponds to share split of something like 40/60 for ASML/Nikon," said C.J. Muse, an analyst with Barclays Capital, in a report.

Intel will get the latest and greatest 193nm immersion scanners from ASML and Nikon. Nikon is shipping a slightly new version of its 193nm immersion tool, which is geared for 32nm chip production and below. Dubbed the NSR-S620D, the tool features a lens with a numerical aperture (NA) of 1.35. The first version of the S620, which was shipped last year, had an NA of 1.30. As reported, it will also make use of a new platform, dubbed the Streamlign. Overlay is 2nm and throughput is 200 wafers an hour.

Meanwhile, ASML's TwinScan NXT:1950i system is a dual-stage, 193nm immersion lithography tool designed for volume production 300mm wafers at the 32nm node and beyond. Building on the in-line catadioptric lens design concept of the XT:1950Hi, the NXT:1950i has NA of 1.35.

Meanwhile, Muse also raised his immersion unit forecast to 110 units from 105 units in 2010. "In turn, we raise our unit estimate for ASML from 88 units to now 92 units," Muse said.

"We have raised our Samsung unit forecast by three units to a total of 27 units to be delivered in 2010," he said. "We also add one unit for Winbond and one for Intel. Lastly, these estimates do not include potential upside from Intel for its 22nm decision where we would expect a selected number of units to be delivered in 2H 10."

Samsung is the biggest buyer right now. "We note that Samsung has pulled in its first immersion tool shipment for line 17 to 2010 and is also planning to install four immersion tools for its system LSI/foundry business along with two tools at Austin, Texas," he said.

"The remainder of the litho tools are earmarked for Line 10, 12, 13, 15 and 16 in Korea. Samsung is even taking one Nikon S620D litho tool into its fabs and not just stopping at that, in fact, there is an extreme ultraviolet tool delivery from ASML scheduled for August as well," he added.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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