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ASML Patterns First Wafer Using High-NA EUV Tool, Ships Second High-NA Scanner

ASML Patterns First Wafer Using High-NA EUV Tool, Ships Second High-NA Scanner

This week ASML is making two very important announcements related to its progress with high numerical aperture extreme ultraviolet lithography (high-NA EUV). First, the company's high-NA EUV prototype system has printed the first 10nm patterns at its fab in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, a major milestone for ASML and their next-generation tools. Second, the company also revealed that its second high-NA EUV system is also now out the door, and has been shipped to an undisclosed customer.

“Our high-NA EUV system at Weldon printed lines 10 nanometers thick for the first time,” ASML said in a statement. “After completing rough calibration of the imaging optics, sensors and stages. Next: bringing the system to full performance. And getting the same results in the field.”

as well as The system shipped to Intel in late 2023., ASML maintains its Twinscan EXE:5000 scanner at its Veldhoven, Netherlands facility, which the company is using for further research and development in high-NA EUV. Using this machine, the company has been able to print dense lines 10 nanometers apart, a major milestone in the development of photolithography. Previously, only small-scale, experimental lab machines have been able to achieve this kind of resolution. Ultimately, high-NA EUV tools will achieve a resolution of 8 nm, which will be critical for manufacturing logic chips on technologies greater than 3 nm.

Intel's Twinscan EXE:5000 scanner is also behind at its D1X fab near Hillsboro, Oregon, and is said to be nearing completion of assembly. This machine will be used primarily for Intel's own high-NA EUV R&D, with Intel using its successor – the commercial-grade TwinScan EXE:5200 – to power its chips on its Intel 14A (1.4 nm- class) on a large scale. 2026 – 2027.

But Intel won't be the only chipmaker experimenting with high-NA EUV scanners for too long. As disclosed by ASML, the company has recently started shipping a Twinscan EXE:5000 machine to another customer. The fab tool maker is not disclosing the client, but has previously said that all the leading logic and memory producers are in the process of procuring High-NA tools for R&D purposes, hence the 'suspects' list. is quite short.

“With regard to high-NA, or 0.55 NA EUV, we have shipped our first system to a customer and the system is currently under installation,” said Christophe Fouquet, Chief Business Officer of ASML, with analysts and investors in the company's earnings conference call. “We started shipping the second system this month and installation is about to begin.”

While Intel plans to be the first industry adopter of High-NA EUV tools, other chipmakers seem a bit more cautious and rely on the risky yet known Low-NA EUV double patterning method for 3 nm and 2 nm production. Intend to do. Still, regardless of the exact timing for the transition, all major fabs will rely on high-NA EUV tools in due course. So all parties have an interest in how ASML's R&D turns out.

“Customer interest for our (High-NA) System Lab is high as the system will help both our Logic and Memory customers prepare to enter High-NA in their roadmaps,” Fouquet said. “Relative to 0.33 NA, the 0.55 NA system provides improved resolution that increases transistor density by nearly 3x, at similar productivity, in support of sub-2nm logic and sub-10nm DRAM nodes.”

Sources: ASML/X, ASML, Reuters

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