[News] Intel Secures First Batch of High-NA EUV Equipment from ASML, Ahead of Samsung and SK Hynix

2024-05-10 Semiconductors editor

Intel has secured its supply of the new High-NA EUV (high-numerical aperture extreme ultraviolet) lithography equipment from ASML, which the semiconductor heavyweight will allegedly use on its 18A (1.8nm) and 14A (1.4nm) nodes, according to reports from TheElec and Wccftech.

According to sources cited by TheElec, the Dutch fab equipment maker is manufacturing five units of the kit this year, which will all go to Intel, while Samsung and SK Hynix are expected to wait until the second half of 2025 to obtain the aforementioned equipment.

For companies aiming to produce 2-nanometer chips, High-NA EUV lithography equipment may be critical, with each unit priced at over 5 trillion Korean won (approximately US$ 370 million), indicating Intel’s total investment on ASML’s first batch of High-NA EUV kits may amount to US$ 2 billion, according to TheElec and Wccftech.

Intel has confirmed in mid-April that it has received and assembled the industry’s first High-NA EUV lithography system, which is expected to be able to print features up to 1.7x smaller than existing EUV tools. This will enable 2D feature scaling, resulting in up to 2.9x more density.

Compared to 0.33NA EUV, High NA EUV (or 0.55NA EUV) can deliver higher imaging contrast for similar features, which enables less light per exposure, thereby reducing the time required to print each layer and increasing wafer output.

Intel expects to use both 0.33NA EUV and 0.55NA EUV alongside other lithography processes in developing and manufacturing advanced chips, starting with product proof points on Intel 18A in 2025 and continuing into production of Intel 14A.

According to TSMC’s press release in late April, A16, TSMC’s next technology on its roadmap which will combine its Super Power Rail architecture with nanosheet transistors, is scheduled for production in 2026. However, citing Kevin Zhang, TSMC’s senior vice president of business development, Reuters reported that TSMC does not believe it needs to use ASML’s new High-NA EUV lithography tool machines to build the A16 chips.

(Photo credit: ASML)

Please note that this article cites information from TheElec and Wccftech

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