ASML demonstrates production-ready EUV tool throughput

Although you may not have heard of ASML, you've certainly heard of its customers. The company provides lithography equipment to major semiconductor manufacturers around the world, including Intel. That means ASML plays a crucial role in driving down process sizes and pushing Moore's Law forward. Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) is widely understood to be one of the next steps on that road. The company has been developing extreme ultraviolet lithography tools for some time now, but production-ready versions of that hardware have proven elusive. For just one example, an AMD presentation (PDF) projected that EUV "could be ready for high volume manufacturing of semiconductor chips in 2012 or 2013" all the way back in 2007. Today, GlobalFoundries has only committed to "EUV compatibility at key levels" for its upcoming 7-nm process, and TSMC expects to begin deploying EUV technology in 2020 at its purported 5-nm node.

If those companies were holding their breath thanks to ASML, they might be able to exhale a bit now. According to ASML itself and reporting from EE Times, the company has achieved a major milestone on the way to delivering production-ready EUV tools to its customers. Thanks to what the company calls "an upgraded EUV source" install in one of its own Twinscan NXE:3400B step-and-scan tools, ASML says that tool can now achieve its internal performance target of 125 wafers per hour of throughput. EE Times says that this source delivers 250 W of EUV photons, a figure the site says "is directly related to productivity." For perspective, EE Times says that EUV sources were limited to just 25 W in 2012.

Now that ASML has demonstrated a functioning version of this EUV source, the company says it will begin focusing on "achieving the availability that is required for high-volume manufacturing as well as further improving productivity." ASML says its EUV equipment order backlog grew to €2.8 billion in its second-quarter financial results, a development it says is indicative that "preparation for high-volume manufacturing is well underway in both logic and DRAM." EE Times reports that the majority of those orders are for Intel's fabs, but the blue team hasn't publicly commented on when it plans to insert EUV tools into its production process. Whenever major semiconductor companies do begin using EUV to make production chips, however, we can be sure we'll hear about it.

Comments closed
    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Why are silicon wafers round when you’re “printing” rectangular chips on them? What a waste.

    • albundy
    • 2 years ago

    is the dishwasher to the left and the fridge to the right of that sink?

    • Anomymous Gerbil
    • 2 years ago

    Here’s some actual information on the gradual uptake of EUV:

    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/11558/globalfoundries-details-7-nm-plans-three-generations-700-mm-hvm-in-2018[/url<]

      • blastdoor
      • 2 years ago

      That’s information about *plans* to gradually take up EUV.

      This story about ASML is more like real news. It’s a story about something that is a necessary condition for those plans to become reality.

    • NoOne ButMe
    • 2 years ago

    I think in theory everyone buys same class of EUV.
    So all fully-EUV process should be similar GloFo 7nm fully EUV = TSMC 5nm EUV = Intel 7/10?EUV = Samsung 6-10?EUV.

    • Wirko
    • 2 years ago

    Yesterday it was a mainframe, today it’s a chip printer*, where is TR heading now?

    Anyway, it’s an interesting read, and kudos to Tech Report for covering a piece of exotic technology occasionally.

    *Ah, the chip printer at least has RGB LEDs under the company logo

      • BIF
      • 2 years ago

      Yes, but are they the new Full Unicode Quantum Digital Universal Pixel Spectrum RGBs?

    • brucethemoose
    • 2 years ago

    How much would one of those puppies in the picture cost?

    I know the answer is “if you have to ask…”, but what’s a ballpark figure? $400,000? $2 million? $20 million?

    EDIT: Oh wow, from what I looked up it may be around $50 million each.

    And getting more expensive with every generation… [i<]Looks up ASML stock price[/i<]

      • Waco
      • 2 years ago

      Fab machines are *expensive*. It’s the only reason flash manufacturing hasn’t totally obliterated the HDD market…it takes billions of dollars to get a fab up and running.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      The author of this article thinks it could be in excess of $1 bn

      [url<]http://electronics360.globalspec.com/article/5264/intel-orders-15-euv-lithography-systems[/url<]

        • UberGerbil
        • 2 years ago

        That’s for fifteen machines, related equipment, installation, and probably maintenance contract also.

      • frenchy2k1
      • 2 years ago

      $50M to $100M each seems the right ballpark, depending on volume.
      EUV has been so late and so expensive to research that intel has had to invest heavily in ASML to keep them afloat.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 2 years ago

      Wanna make a fab and fill it with equipment? Got 5 billion dollars floating around?

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Alright! Whoever buys a few dozens of these first gets to be ahead of everyone else in the chip fabrication game! Come on guys, now we have the tools to build Ryzen chips at 5nm and run them at 25GHz!

      • frenchy2k1
      • 2 years ago

      GloFo will buy those for their 7nm process.
      They probably have a few already.

        • freebird
        • 2 years ago

        GloFo will use it when it is economically advantageous…but they will have good working knowledge when needed…

        “To accelerate the 7LP production ramp, GF is investing in new process equipment capabilities, including the addition of the first two EUV lithography tools in the second half of this year. The initial production ramp of 7LP will be based on an optical lithography approach, with migration to EUV lithography when the technology is ready for volume manufacturing.”

        June 13, 2017
        [url<]https://www.globalfoundries.com/news-events/press-releases/globalfoundries-track-deliver-leading-performance-7nm-finfet-technology[/url<] But they've been working with SUNY Polytechnic Institute on EUV manufacturing along with the IBM Research Alliance. [url<]https://www.globalfoundries.com/news-events/press-releases/suny-poly-and-globalfoundries-announce-new-500m-r-and-d-program-in-albany-to-accelerate-next-generation-chip-technology[/url<] [url<]https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/52531.wss[/url<] p.s. each machine comes with a free pizza & 2-litre bottle of soda (your choice) from Dominos...

    • Anovoca
    • 2 years ago

    125 wafers an hour. To put that output into perspective, a Xerox Nuvera printer of similar size will output between 280-300 pages of duplex print per minute (or 130-160 single sided sheets per minute).

    I don’t see much on that machine beyond one material input location and one output tray and a readout screen. All I can say is, being the machine operator for one of those puppies has got to be booooooooooooooooooooooreing.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      PC Load Wafer?

      What the !@#$ does that mean?!!?

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah and imagine doing that hour after hour, day after day, week after week………………….
      ………………………………
      ………….. But if the pay is good, yeah sure why not.

        • Anovoca
        • 2 years ago

        Yeah, good pay. Cause that is what Chinese tech mfg is known for. :p

          • frenchy2k1
          • 2 years ago

          This will be in intel top of the line fab, not a 2bit chinese manufacturer.
          And most of those machines are designed to be fully automated. Youo may have a single tech for a dozen equipments, just to make sure they can rect to possible errors, not one per, sitting in front of the screen waiting.
          This is what the light in front is for. If the machine requires normal attention (changing wafer cassette for example), it will flash orange. In case of error, it will flash red and may blare a strong noise.

          • NoOne ButMe
          • 2 years ago

          Leading foundries:
          TSMC
          Intel
          GloFo
          Samsung

          Foundries just getting to 28/40nm are I think mostly non-Chinese also.

            • BurntMyBacon
            • 2 years ago

            TSMC China Company Limited, Fab 10 is an 8 inch fab owned by TSMC currently operating in Shanghai, China. Don’t know which node size off hand.
            [url<]http://www.tsmc.com/english/dedicatedFoundry/manufacturing/locations.htm[/url<] TSMC signed an agreement with the municipal government of Nanjing, China to build a new 12 inch 14/16nm fab scheduled to go online in the second half of 2018. [url<]http://www.tsmc.com/tsmcdotcom/PRListingNewsAction.do?action=detail&newsid=THPGTHHITH&language=E[/url<] GloFo is building a 300mm 22FDX fab in Chengdu, China. [url<]https://www.globalfoundries.com/news-events/press-releases/globalfoundries-and-chengdu-partner-expand-fd-soi-ecosystem-china[/url<] Intel owns a 300mm 65nm fab in Dalian, China. [url<]https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/jobs/locations/china/sites.html[/url<] Samsung owns a 300mm, 20nm fab in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China. Samsung owns a fab in Suzhou, China. Don't know which node size off-hand. [url<]http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/about-us/location/[/url<] That's just in your list of leading foundries. Not all of these are sub 28/40nm, but any of these could be updated to the latest node whenever the manufacturer deems it desirable. Some manufacturers are already building new facilities in China.

      • Wirko
      • 2 years ago

      For a printer of a similar size, look [url=http://www2.kba.com/gb/sheetfed-offset/sheetfed-offset-presses/product/rapida-145/detail/<]here[/url<], not there.

      • the
      • 2 years ago

      But just think of the tan you’d get by just opening one up while it was running.

      • Stonebender
      • 2 years ago

      Operators are typically running multiple machines from a central command center. Believe me, being an operator in the fab keeps you pretty busy.

      • Stonebender
      • 2 years ago

      You want to talk about boring? Back in th 8 inch days there were certain layers of the process that took an hour to run one lot of 25 wafers.

        • BurntMyBacon
        • 2 years ago

        Back in the 8 inch days?

        The majority of TSMC’s fabrication facilities are still 8 inch. The own seven 8 inch facilities and only four 12 inch facilities. To be fair, the 12 inch facilities are higher volume. I imagine new processes and techniques have significantly improved their processing times in 8 inch facilities compared to the time period you are talking about .

        [url<]http://www.tsmc.com/english/dedicatedFoundry/manufacturing/locations.htm[/url<]

          • Stonebender
          • 2 years ago

          Sorry, speaking strictly from an Intel POV. I worked in fab 20 from 2002 up into it closed in 2010.

      • Liron
      • 2 years ago

      If they stack the wafers at a moderate distance, loading those 2 wafers per minute could be fun and great cardio!

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    Ah crap, if EUV stops being the technology that’s always 5 years away from being real then I’ll have to go back to Fusion.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 2 years ago

      No kidding, this has getting serious.

      • Redocbew
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]I'll have to go back to Fusion[/quote<] It's the future!

        • CuttinHobo
        • 2 years ago

        “But when will then be now?”

        “Soon!”

          • chubbyhorse
          • 2 years ago

          “This is now now. Everything that’s happening now, is happening now.”

          “Go back”

          “We can’t”

          “Why not?”

          “We missed it”

          “When?”

          “Now”

      • Neutronbeam
      • 2 years ago

      AND the EmDrive . . . [url<]https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/emdrive-news-rumors/[/url<]

      • frenchy2k1
      • 2 years ago

      You forgot Gallium Arsenide replacing Silicon for integrated circuits.
      GaAs, the substrate of the future, in the future.

        • Neutronbeam
        • 2 years ago

        Don’t forget the carbon nanotubes dude; they’re tubular!

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