LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Members of a U.S.-based extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography consortium here dismissed an earlier estimate that EUV production tools could cost as much as $40 million each when they first hit the market by 2005.
The EUV proponents, meeting here on Wednesday to promote their development efforts, said the price tag for tools will be more in line with today's most advanced optical lithography systems--probably somewhere in a range of $15-to-$20 million.
Earlier this year, a vice president with KLA-Tencor Corp.'s Lithography and Films Group predicted that EUV tools would probably cost between $30-to-40 million each, making them too expensive for nearly all semiconductor manufacturers when the first production systems hit the market (see March 2 story ).
But EUV backers dismissed this notion--"$40 million is out of the ball park," declared Chris Philippi, business manager for the EUV Limited Liability Co. (LLC). Based in Livermore, the EUV LLC consortium consists of Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Micron, Motorola, Infineon, IBM, and U.S. national labs.
During press briefings on Wednesday, Chuck Gwyn, program manager of the EUV consortium, estimated that the "cost of ownership" for the extreme-ultraviolet light exposure tools would be in a range between $15-to-$20 million per system.
Philippi added, "We are always trying to lower the tool costs."
On Wednesday, the partnership between chip companies and U.S. government labs announced plans to accelerate development of beta prototype systems for EUV process development after completing the first full-scale prototype of an extreme ultraviolet system (see April 11 story ). Officials said they now expected to have early beta tools ready for EUV process development by 2003.
After the press conference, Intel Corp. CEO Craig Barrett said that he currently anticipated that EUV production systems to be ready by the middle of the decade--around 2005--but he'd like to see those systems moved up by a couple of years. And for sure, he'd prefer that they cost more in the $15-to-20 million range than the $40 million estimate.