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ASML dominates litho market

Posted: 03 Apr 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lithography tool? extreme ultraviolet? shipment?

According to the Information Network, ASML Holding NV commanded a higher share of units shipped last year than the combined total of competitors Nikon Corp. and Canon Inc. ASML was responsible for 57 percent of the lithography tools shipped, with Nikon accounting for 28 percent and Canon 15 percent. In 2001, Nikon's share was 42 percent, Canon's 35 percent and ASML's only 22 percent, the market research firm noted.

Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network, said a bifurcation of the lithography tool market started in 2004, when ASML for the first time took the lead in 193nm ArF lithography. Castellano said any chance Nikon or Canon will have to surpass ASML won't come until next-generation extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which is lagging behind schedule.

lithography tool market share

ASML was responsible for 57 percent of the lithography tools shipped last year, with Nikon accounting for 28 percent and Canon 15 percent.

But while ASML has already installed several pre-production EUV tools and says it will have a production tool shipping next year, Nikon has said its high-volume EUV tool won't be ready until 2014 or 2015.

"The monopoly held by ASML in the high-end stepper market (ArF and EUVL) has and will continue to have an impact on semiconductor manufacturers," stated Castellano. "ASML products command a much higher selling price than competitors, and in the semiconductor market advanced lithography is so critical that buyers are willing to pay the higher price."

Thanks to strong lithography tool sales, ASML parlayed its dominance in 2011 to surpass longtime No. 1 semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials Inc. and become the leader in tool sales.

ASML had a whopping 82 percent of 193nm immersion lithography tool shipments last year, with Nikon weighing in at around 18 percent, according to the Information Network.

Canon had nearly 53 percent market share in low-end, i-line lithography in 2011, while Nikon held 40 percent and ASML only 8 percent, according to the Information Network.

But Castellano noted that i-line lithography tools sell for only around $5 million each. "However, the really big money is in ArF immersion tools that sell for $30 million and more depending on all the bells and whistles."

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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