Canvas Category Machinery : Special Purpose : Semiconductor
ASML is an innovation leader in the semiconductor industry. We manufacture complex lithography systems critical to the production of microchips, unlocking the potential of people and society by pushing technology to new limits.
Imec and ASML sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support semiconductor research and sustainable innovation in Europe
Imec, a leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, and ASML Holding N.V. (ASML), a leading supplier to the semiconductor industry, today announce that they intend to intensify their collaboration in the next phase of developing a state-of-the-art high-numerical aperture (High-NA) extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography pilot line at imec.
The pilot line is intended to help the industries using semiconductor technologies to understand the opportunities that advanced semiconductor technology can bring and have access to a prototyping platform that will support their innovations. The collaboration between imec, ASML and other partners will enable the exploration of novel semiconductor applications, the potential development of sustainable, leading-edge manufacturing solutions for chip makers and end users, as well as the development of advanced holistic patterning flows in collaboration with the equipment and material ecosystem.
⛓️ ASML says decoupling chip supply chain is practically impossible
“We do not believe in ASML that decoupling is possible. We believe this will be extremely difficult and extremely expensive,” Fouquet told Nikkei at the company’s headquarters. “It’s a matter of time until people realize that the only way to be successful in semiconductors is through cooperation.” The secret to ASML’s success, according to Fouquet, is its longtime collaboration with critical global suppliers such as Zeiss and Cymer and the support from its top chipmaking customers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Intel.
The bulk of ASML’s production, meanwhile, is done in one place, its headquarters, and Fouquet said it will likely keep the majority – about 80% to 90% – of its production and integration there until at least 2026. “It’s very important for us to keep R&D and manufacturing together,” the senior executive said.
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The Extreme Engineering of ASML’s EUV Light Source
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Moore’s Law Could Ride EUV for 10 More Years
ASML expects that chip makers ramping up production with the new technology initially will use 0.55 NA for a cost-saving single-expose EUV process for advanced wafer layers, while using multi-pattern 0.33 NA along with older lithography technology for more mature nodes. As the single-expose 0.55 NA technology reaches its limits, somewhere around six years from now, ASML predicts that chipmakers will once again resort to multi-patterning to reach even more advanced nodes with higher transistor densities. In the next few years, ASML’s introduction of 0.55 NA tools will help leading semiconductor foundries like TSMC overcome obstacles they are now encountering at the 3nm chip process technology node.
The Dutch company is the world’s lone supplier of EUV equipment. In 2010, ASML shipped the first prototype EUV tool to an undisclosed Asian customer. Semiconductor production today is divided into the EUV “haves” like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), Samsung and Intel, which make advanced chips for customers like Apple, MediaTek and Qualcomm. The EUV “have not” chip makers years ago threw in the towel at leading nodes, jettisoning the associated multi-billion dollar capital expenditures and focusing on improved profits from legacy production lines and products that benefit little or none from process shrinks.
The $150 Million Machine Keeping Moore’s Law Alive
ASML’s next-generation extreme ultraviolet lithography machines achieve previously unattainable levels of precision, which means chips can keep shrinking for years to come.
ASML introduced the first extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines for mass production in 2017, after decades spent mastering the technique. The machines perform a crucial role in the chipmaking ecosystem, and they have been used in the manufacture of the latest, most advanced chips, including those in new iPhones as well as computers used for artificial intelligence. The company’s next EUV system, a part of which is being built in Wilton, Connecticut, will use a new trick to minimize the wavelength of light it uses—shrinking the size of features on the resulting chips and boosting their performance—more than ever before.