SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After dropping its 193-nm scanner line earlier this week, the Silicon Valley Group Inc. (SVG) unit of ASM Lithography has reportedly pushed out the delivery of its 157-nm tool to late-2002--or about a year or so later than previously expected, according to sources.
SVG's 157-nm tool was originally supposed to be shipped in the summer or fall of 2001, according to sources. Now, the SVG-made scanner will not be shipped until "late-2002," according to an executive from Intel Corp.
Intel is the first customer for SVG's 157-nm tool, although the IC giant implied that the delay would have no impact on its current or future chip production.
Still, the delay could be another setback for ASML of the Veldhoven, the Netherlands. Plagued by chronic delays, SVG's Micrascan V 193-nm lithography system is being discontinued by ASML, which on Tuesday said it will converge all 193-nm wavelength tool offerings onto a single platform--the company's dual-stage Twinscan system (see Nov. 27 story ).
The decision kills a key product platform acquired by ASML earlier this year when it completed its purchase of SVG for $1.6 billion in stock.
SVG was developing the Micrascan V for a key customer--Intel Corp. Now, Intel is evaluating competitive 193-nm scanners from ASML, Canon Inc., and Nikon Corp., according to sources.
Meanwhile, in the late-1990s, SVG and Intel also announced plans to co-develop an advanced narrow-field tool, based on a 157-nm (F2) fluorine laser source. Dubbed the Micrascan VII, the SVG-developed scanner featured a lens, based on what the company claimed was the world's most advanced calcium-fluoride (CaF2) material.
In the summer or fall of 2001, Intel was supposed to get the first Micrascan VII tool for its new 300-mm development fab, according to executives at the Santa Clara-based chip giant at a press event last May (see April 11 story ).
SVG's 157-nm tool is supposed to be used for developing Intel's first 300-mm processes for the 65-nm node (0.065-micron). This technology, called P1264 by Intel, will have 0.035-micron (35-nm) gate lengths. It is now due to be ready for production in 2005.
Executives from Intel implied that SVG's 157-nm scanner is not late in regards to the chip maker's own IC-processing requirements. And the reported delay will have no impact on Intel's current or future chip production, the company insisted.
Still, the tool is somewhat later than previously expected. SVG's 157-nm system is scheduled for delivery by "late-2002," said Peter Silverman, director of lithography capital equipment development at Intel's Technology Manufacturing Engineering division.
In an interview with SBN, Silverman implied that Intel's 157-nm program is on track despite of the delays and problems with the technology in general. Among those problems are the so-called intrinsic birefringence issues with 157-nm tools, according to analysts.
In any case, these technical issues may have caused SVG some problems, which could have delayed the development of its 157-nm tool, analysts speculated. A spokesman for ASML in the Netherlands acknowledged that SVG's 157-nm tool has not been shipped, but declined to elaborate.
ASML is not out of the running in the 157-nm tool market, however. SVG's parent--ASML--is also developing a competitive 157-nm tool. Executives from ASML have also discussed plans to combine the 157-nm tools from SVG and ASML platforms into a single platform.