ASML has received new orders for four extreme ultraviolet lithography systems during the last quarter and anticipates selling a dozen EUV systems next year. The report fueled expectations the scanners finally will be ready for mass production in 2020, probably for 5nm chips. Optimism for the new timeline was tempered by concerns the systems used to print lines as fine as 13nm may need a major optical upgrade for work on nodes beyond 5nm.
ASML expects EUV to be used for about two or more layers in memory mid-teens nodes and 6–9 layers in the most advanced logic nodes (7 or 5 nm).
The company said it could in 2018 double to 24 its capacity to make the systems which cost nearly $100 million each. So far chip makers have installed eight of the latest EUV systems for testing.
TSMC recently announced plans to use EUV for its 5nm node.
Intel on Wednesday said that its 10nm node will start to ramp this fall. This means that Intel may use EUV for its 7nm node, which could ramp about the same time as TSMC’s 5nm node.
Today’s 16/14nm nodes were generally designed to deliver the finest lines and spaces possible using double-patterning with existing deep ultraviolet (DUV) scanners. When it’s ready, EUV could be used to eliminate the need for expensive triple- or quad-patterning for nodes at 10nm or beyond.
Meanwhile, the latest EUV systems still fall short of readiness for mass production which requires a 250W light source to print 125 wafers/hour. Installed systems use a 125W light source that have printed 85 wafers/hour, and ASML has demonstrated a 210W version in its labs, according to Michael Lercel, director of strategic marketing at ASML.
ASML also is working to ensure greater than 90% uptime for the complex EUV systems. So far, best results showed uptime of greater than 80% over a four week period.
have in mind that we have to do with systems whose light source must shoot molten droplets of tin 50,000 times a second while working in a vacuum. They use a new light source that is much larger and more complex than past excimer lasers, themselves the size of a refrigerator, that work in the ambient environment of the clean room.