Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML announced it has signed a major contract to deliver a minimum of 15 EUV litography systems and that the first two NXE:3350B EUV systems are expected to be delivered before the end of this year. Each of these machines has a list price of around 100 million euros so we're talking about a deal potentially worth around $1.6 billion.
Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is a next-gen manufacturing technique that has been delayed many times and still faces some obstacles. It was originally planned to enter production over a decade ago but even now it's unknown when it will be adopted. Just two months ago Intel stated it's confident that it can shrink to 7nm in 2018 without EUV, whereas TSMC recently mentioned it's working with ASML to perhaps insert EUV partially on its 10nm process for a few critical layers of manufacturing.
Due to confidentiality agreements, ASML did not reveal the name of its customer but the fact that it's a major US customer means it is most likely Intel. Perhaps this means we might see 7nm EUV from Intel after all?
ASML Holding NV (ASML) today announces that it has signed an agreement with one of its major US customers to deliver a minimum of 15 ASML EUV lithography systems to support increased development activity and pilot production of future-generation manufacturing processes. The customer intends to use EUV lithography for multiple processing steps in future process technology nodes. The delivery of the first two NXE:3350B EUV systems is expected before the end of 2015. The new systems will be in addition to the existing EUV development systems already at the customer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is the leading new patterning technology that simplifies the manufacturing process for the most advanced chips with significant benefits in terms of yield and cycle time. It will help the semiconductor industry to continue Moore's Law well into the next decade by packing more transistors on a chip, reducing cost-per-function and improving energy efficiency.
"EUV is now approaching volume introduction. Long-term EUV planning and EUV ecosystem preparation is greatly supported by this commitment to EUV, kick-starting a new round of innovation in the semiconductor industry. The commitment extends the planning horizon and increases the confidence in EUV," ASML President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink said.