SAN JOSE, Calif. -- In a major development, ASML Holding NV said that Taiwan Semiconductor
Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) will take delivery of ASML's extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography system.
At some point, possibly next year or sooner, TSMC will take delivery of a TwinScan NXE:3100 tool from ASML. The NXE:3100 is a ''pre-production'' EUV tool, said to have an NA of 0.25.
This represents a change in direction for silicon foundry giant TSMC. TSMC has dismissed EUV--at least in the past. For next-generation lithography, the company has been backing maskless lithography. It will continue to do so.
After months of collaboration, foundry chip supplier TSMC and Mapper Lithography BV recently claimed that Mapper's tool located on TSMC's Fab 12 GigaFab is printing features so far unachievable with current immersion lithography technology. In 2008, TSMC and Mapper concluded an agreement according to which Mapper would ship its first 300 mm multiple-electron-beam maskless lithography platform for process development and device prototyping to TSMC.
TSMC is also expected to be one the first dedicated foundries conducting on-site EUV development. It will install the new system on its Fab 12 GigaFab for development of future technology nodes.
TSMC is evaluating EUV and other lithography technologies for their potential to optimize cost-effective manufacturing at future technology nodes.
EUV technology employs a much shorter wavelength and has the potential to reduce costs associated with current techniques used to stretch 193-nm immersion lithography, making it a promising lithography technology for manufacturing IC's for future advanced technology nodes.
"TSMC will use a TwinScan NXE:3100 for research and development of future advanced technology nodes," said Shang-yi Chiang, TSMC's senior vice president of research and development, in a statement. "EUV is one of next-generation lithography technologies we are investigating.''
Others have also jumped on the EUV bandwagon, including Hynix, Intel, Samsung, Toshiba, among others.