LONDON – An innovative equity-plus-research funding scheme assembled by lithography tool vendor ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands) to pay for extreme ultra violet R&D and the transition to 450-mm diameter wafer technologies, is being put in place to produce EUV results in 2018, the company has said. The scheme will have no impact on the current generation of EUV machine, which is already considered to be late to market.
The funding project is also being applied to creating ArF, ArF immersion and KrF lithography systems capable of handling 450-mm diameter wafers, which could arrive sooner than 2018.
ASML is trying to raise 1.38 billion euro (about $1.7 billion) to fund its next phase of EUV lithography and 450-mm diameter wafer development. To help persuade its customers to pay for the R&D ASML is offering the chance to buy up to a 25 percent stake in the company. Intel has signed up to take a 15 percent stake. ASML has said it is still negotiating with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. over taking up to a 10 percent stake in the company.
When asked how Intel's support would change ASML's EUV roadmap Eric Meurice, CEO, told analysts in a conference call that" "The current EUV program, for which we have committed to customers – and to our shareholders – that we'll be in production in 2014, that's the current machine called the 3300 [NXE:3300] will not be impacted at all. We think we will be there. We will have the specification. We don't need additional funding to succeed there."
Meurice continued: "The additional funding, however, will help us in version expected in 2018, which is a significant undertaking; it has a bigger lens, it has a bigger need for higher power and is a significant challenge in overlay and it is going to be 300- and 450-mm compatible. That's a big project for 2018. This is the one we want to secure with this additional funding."
Peter Wennink, CFO of ASML, told the analysts that because the EUV machines have been designed to be capable of upgrading to 450-mm wafers most of the 450-mm development spending would be on preparing 450-mm capable lithography systems based on ArF and KrF. No timetable was given for when these machines would be made available. Related links and articles: Intel buys stake in ASML to boost 450-mm, EUV R&D
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