IMEC and ASML Open Joint Labs, Accelerating Advancements

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IMEC and ASML opened a joint lab in the Netherlands, offering access to semiconductor manufacturing tools like high NA EUV scanner, to accelerate industry advancements.

ASML, a Dutch based manufacturer of lithographic machines that are essential in chip manufacturing, opens a joint lab with Belgium R&D company, IMEC in the Netherlands. The lab offers companies access to a prototype high numerical aperture extreme ultraviolet (High NA EUV) scanner, along with other tools necessary for the semiconductor manufacturing process. These tools include a coat, development track, metrology tools, wafer and mask handling systems. 

Imec and ASML support them in de-risking the technology and developing private High NA EUV use cases before the scanners become operational in their production fabs. Access is also provided to the broader ecosystem of material and equipment suppliers and to Imec’s High NA patterning program.

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Unlike the traditional 0.33NA EUV first produced in 2013, High NA EUV has a 0.55 NA (numerical aperture). Its exposure to less light, and quick print of each layer, increases wafer output.

ASML’s president and CEO, Christophe Fouquet highlights that ASML-Imec High NA EUV Lithography Lab provides an opportunity for EUV customers, partners, and suppliers to access the High NA EUV system for process development while waiting for their own system to be available at their factories. 

This type of very early engagement with the ecosystem is unique and could significantly accelerate the learning curve on the technology and smoothen the introduction in manufacturing. We are committed to work with and support our customers in this journey with High NA EUV.

According to sources, last year , ASML sold its entire stock of High NA EUV machines to Intel. This year the company plans to ship one to TSMC in the next six months.

Sources told Bloomberg that the company’s CFO Roger Dassen reportedly told analysts on a recent call that the Taiwanese chipmaker will receive a machine before the end of the year.

ASML has the capacity to produce around five or six units of High NA EUV equipment each year, with each unit costing approximately $370 million.

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