Intel and ASML Holdings EUV Lithography Slated for 2016 Debut – End of 10nm Cycle

Usman Pirzada

As the node shrinks are getting ever smaller, mundane physics of the real world are starting to kick in. It is becoming harder and harder to shrink the process by little percentages, making concerned semiconductor companies spend mindbogglingly huge amounts in R&D. However Intel has previously promised that they will get atleast 10nm out of the way without resorting to EUV Lithography, which is the next generation of lithographic process for semiconductors.30mm 450mm Silicon Wafer

ASML Holdings to debut EUV (properly) by 2016 - Intel will use the next gen litho after 10nm processors

ASML Holdings, the magician behind the curtain, is the world's largest supplier of photolithography systems. And evidence suggests that It is they who will provide the relevant technology to Intel. They (ASML) announced the mass production commencement of EUV from 2016 in their quarterly earnings report for Q3. However, the actual timeline will depend on how fast the company can conduct its R&D and perfect the not-yet-ready technology that is Extreme Ultra Violet litho.

Intel believes it can pass 10nm and maybe even 7nm without EUV and utilizing in-house R&D so ASML has a decent amount of time to come up with the tech required to power Moore's Law (or the semblance thereof). Their product lineup includes the NXE:3100 and NEX:3300B Systems, both of which are working EUV devices where the former was launched two years ago. The NEX:3300B has a wafer capacity of approximately 70 Wafers per minute.  However, so far, only 11 units of the NEX:3300B systems have been bought and only 3 actually shipped last year. 5 units will ship this year and the remaining orders will upgrade directly to the NEX:3350B model.

Now here is the interesting thing. The customers of ASML holding are a secret. However, Intel Corporation is thought to be the no-brainer answer because it is one of the major share holders with over $4.1 billion invested in the company and 15% of the entire share. EUV lithography process is the next generation in fabrication technology and while Intel can make claims that they can achieve 7nm without EUV, it will enter the scene some time, and when it does, it can only help to have a company like ASML in your pocket.


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