Earlier this 12 months, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) mentioned it has deployed round 50% of all excessive ultraviolet (EUV) lithography (EUV) instruments put in and used globally, which implies it makes use of extra EUV machines than another firm within the sector. In keeping with a Digitimes Report, TSMC plans to remain one step forward and has already positioned an order for greater than a dozen ASML Twinscan NXE EUV scanners due for supply subsequent 12 months.
TSMC has positioned orders for ‘at the least’ 13 EUV programs with ASML, reviews DigiTimes citing undisclosed trade sources. These instruments are anticipated to be delivered all through 2021, though the precise supply and set up schedule is unknown. In the meantime, TSMC’s precise necessities for subsequent 12 months may attain 16-17 EUV scanners as the corporate ramps up manufacturing utilizing its manufacturing applied sciences that characteristic EUV layers. TSMC didn’t affirm the report.
At the moment, TSMC makes use of ASML’s Twinscan NXE EUV scanners to fabricate industrial chips on its N7 + and N5 nodes, however within the coming quarters the corporate will add N6 (which is definitely anticipated to enter HVM in This fall 2020). or Q1 2021) in addition to N5P processes which additionally embody EUV layers.
TSMC’s want for EUV instruments will increase as its applied sciences turn out to be extra advanced and use extra layers that should be processed utilizing excessive ultraviolet lithography instruments. TSMC’s N7 + makes use of EUV for as much as 4 layers to cut back the usage of multi-pattern methods when making very advanced circuits.
N6 expertise will develop the usage of UVL to 5 layers (whereas sustaining IP compatibility with the N7 solely DUV), whereas TSMC’s flagship N5 node can use EUVL for as much as 14 layers. The following N4 is anticipated to additional enhance the utmost variety of EUV layers, whereas within the case of the N3 (which is anticipated to be obtainable in 2023), that quantity will enhance to over 20.
In keeping with ASML, one EUV layer required a Twinscan NXE scanner for each slice of roughly 45,000 wafer begins per thirty days in 2018 ~ 2019. As software productiveness will increase, the variety of WSPMs will increase. Due to this fact, to equip a GigaFab (with a manufacturing capability better than 100,000 wafer begins per thirty days) that’s configured to manufacture chips utilizing N3 or extra superior nodes, TSMC wants at the least 40 EUV instruments. on this fab.
Earlier this week, TSMC’s Board of Administrators authorised spending $ 15.1 billion on new manufacturing instruments, constructing factories, putting in specialised technological capabilities, upgrading its superior packaging amenities, and R&D within the first quarter of 2021. A number of the funds authorised could possibly be used to buy EUV instruments.
ASML will increase manufacturing capability of UVU
ASML’s newest Twinscan NXE: 3400B and NXE: 3400C sweep and step programs are fairly costly. Again in October ASML revealed that 4 EUV programs in its backlog had been price € 595 million (~ $ 703 million), so a single piece of kit can value as much as € 148.75 million ($ 175.75 million) . That mentioned, 13 EUV units may value TSMC $ 2.284 billion.
However cash is not the one concern relating to EUV instruments. ASML is the one firm that produces and installs EUV scanners and its manufacturing and set up capability is comparatively restricted. After all of the changes to its manufacturing course of, the corporate believes it will probably scale back the cycle time of a single machine to twenty weeks, which might lead to an annual capability of 45 to 50 programs.
Throughout the three quarters of this 12 months, ASML has shipped 23 EUV scanners and intends to promote barely lower than the 35 programs initially deliberate for 2020. Thus far, ASML has shipped 83 industrial EUV instruments (together with NXE: 3350B, NXE: 3400B, and NXE: 3400C machines bought from Q1 2015 to Q3 2020) to all of its clients.
Forward of the trade
If TSMC’s claims of possession of roughly 50% of all Twinscan NXE instruments put in and working worldwide are appropriate, the corporate might already personal 30 to 40 EUV scanners, which is greater than another firm on this planet. sector.
TSMC is definitely not the one semiconductor producer to supply numerous EUV instruments. Samsung is believed to be considerably delayed as the corporate solely makes use of EUV to fabricate its 7LPP and 5LPE SoCs in addition to some DRAMs. However as Samsung Foundry expands the usage of UVL for logic, whereas Samsung Semiconductor boosts EUV-based DRAM manufacturing, the conglomerate will inevitably have to begin shopping for extra Twinscan NXE scanners.
Intel can be anticipated to begin rolling out EUVL programs someday in 2022 when it begins manufacturing chips utilizing its 7nm node. Whereas there are numerous uncertainties about this course of expertise in addition to Intel’s plans for the longer term, it’s inevitable that the corporate will even be one of many main adopters of UVL within the years to return.
One other main buyer of ASML’s Twinscan NXE machines will likely be SK hynix, which is already testing these instruments and creating appropriate nodes and DRAM ICs.
China’s largest chipmaker, SMIC, nonetheless can not get its already bought EUV software on account of export necessities from the Netherlands. In the meantime, since it’s almost not possible for the corporate to supply different manufacturing instruments wanted for UVV manufacturing from corporations primarily based in the US, it does not likely want extra. an EUV scanner in the meanwhile.
Micron plans to keep away from the usage of UVL for a number of generations of DRAM to return, however since it would nonetheless should transit to EUV-compatible nodes finally, it would seemingly buy at the least one Twinscan NXE system within the years to return for this goal. of growth.
It’s inevitable that the demand for EUV instruments will solely enhance within the years to return, however from the place we’re at the moment, TSMC will stay the first adopter of those scanners for the foreseeable future, adopted by Samsung and Intel. .