LONDON Ė Eric Meurice, CEO of lithography equipment supplier ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands), has provided background on the roll out of its next generation extreme ultra violet (EUV) lithography machines and the throughputs customers can expect.
EUV lithography, considered by most of the industry as necessary to allow continued miniaturization of circuits, has been in development for nearly a decade and is still plagued by low power light sources that prevent machines reaching benchmark wafer throughputs in excess of 100 wafers per hour.
Meurice, speaking on a conference call with financial analysts held to discuss the company's somewhat tepid second quarter financial results, provided more EUV information than previously as the company gets close to shipping its NXE:3300 commercial EUV machine. The roll out of the first 11 "process development" machines, capable of handling 300-mm diameter wafers is now expected to be a 2013 event.
While in the short-term ASML is not promising much by way of throughput, possibly as little as 30 wafers per hour by the end of this year Meurice said there is now a roadmap to a throughput of 70 wafers per hour in 2014 and 125 wafers per hour in 2016. As and when customers call for 450-mm capable machines that should provide ASML with about a 10 percent adder on the sales price, Meurice said.
ASML has 11 of the NXE:3300 machines on order but these are now likely to be delivered to customers in 2013, Meurice said. The final integration of the first NXE:3300 at ASML is expected in October or November he added. The NXE:3300 systems shipping in 2013 will only be used for developing manufacturing process technologies, Meurice said but will still result in 800 million euro (about $980 million) of revenue for ASML in 2013.
Boeing and Airbus planes were amazing feats of engineering some decades ago and are still around today because there is a need for flying. I think an EUV and Ebeam technology can be the semiconductor equivalent. There will always be a need for high volume IC manufacture so who cares if they are late or unable to improve on moore's law. Once they are ready, they will be in operation for decades until some totally new technology comes along.
Meanwhile, whether more Moore or less Moore, EUV remains SXPL. Soft x-ray projection lithography is still x-ray, despite the EUV nom de plume. If EUV ever gets to 50WPH, it will have a modest role in logic. ASML will happily sell scads of immersion tools for pentuple or sextuple, etc. patterning. Keep an eye on imprint for NVM, either advanced NAND or crossbars. It has a compelling virtue: cheapiness.
I think many of us are getting the bigger picture that at some point in the next several years Moore's law will likely break from a strictly brute force scaling approach.
Then some "More than Moore" set of technologies has to kick in where simple scaling leaves off. Intel's adoption of the trigate transistor is one example.
So what everyone is not getting is the big picture. This is how Moores Law dies. At some point some mundane process step will halt process development which will halt scaling which will ripple throughout the entire tech sector. Because the entire tech sector has relied on more transistors for less power in less space for 60+ years, when this stops, the tech sector will have nothing new to offer customers. The painful consequences of this will become apparent to us all soon. By the way it is interesting Intel appears to be aware of this and is setting up to grap a big chunk of the FPGA and network processor markets among others. See as this unfolds it is better to get a larger share of a shrinking market.
I found some info on perhaps how equipment vendor see it
"At SemiCon last year, all of the panels and talks on 450mm wafers said the same
thing, the industry is moving there together. Some predicted this would be at 14nm, others are saying 10nm, but no one questioned that the major players would all have to move at once. That panel included high ranking Intel process
personnel as well as other industry giants. If the industry decides that 14nm is the transition point for 450mm, everyone will be making 14nm chips on 450mm wafers, 10nm if that ends up being the consensus. What is clear is that no one will be doing a 450mm wafer a node earlier that the rest.
Why? Because the tools vendors all said that once the crossover point is agreed
upon, they will only make tools for that node that use 450mm wafers, the market
isnít big enough to sustain both 300mm and 450mm variants of the same device. "
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