ASML’s High-NA EUV lithography equipment is set to completely transform chipmaking

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Dutch agency ASML, a person of Europe’s hottest stocks, is performing on a new version of its extreme ultraviolet lithography machine, which is utilised to carve styles onto items of silicon that kind the most advanced chips in the environment.

Headquartered in Veldhoven, a tiny village near the Dutch city of Eindhoven, ASML is the only organization in the globe capable of creating these really complex EUV equipment — but it is really not halting there.

The firm’s present EUV equipment is applied by TSMC, Samsung and Intel to make chips that finish up in the newest crop of computer systems and smartphones. But there is a new model of the EUV equipment in the pipeline, dubbed Significant NA, that could enable chipmakers to develop even more complex chips to ability the up coming generation of digital gadgets. NA stands for numerical aperture.

ASML was born in 1984 when electronics big Philips and chip-equipment maker Highly developed Semiconductor Supplies Global resolved to develop a new corporation to develop lithography devices for the increasing semiconductor sector. Identified as ASM Lithography, the corporation started its function inauspiciously — in a get rid of upcoming to a Philips business in Eindhoven.

Right now, ASML is valued at $329 billion, and some tech traders anticipate it to be value $500 billion by the stop of 2022. It is the major tech enterprise in Europe by marketplace price and a single of the major in the entire world. It employs over 31,000 workforce across the Netherlands, the United States, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China.

How EUV machines do the job

EUV equipment glow exceptionally narrow beams of gentle onto silicon wafers that have been taken care of with “photoresist” chemical compounds. Intricate designs are created on the wafer where the light arrives into get in touch with with the substances, which are meticulously laid out beforehand. This procedure, which sales opportunities to the development of the all-essential transistors, is recognized as lithography.

Transistors are just one of the essential creating blocks of modern electronics, and they allow an electrical existing to movement about a circuit. Commonly speaking, the extra transistors you can healthy on to a chip, the additional effective and successful that chip will be.

Not just about every lithography technique that ASML will make has EUV capabilities. EUV is the company’s newest technological innovation, which it introduced for high-quantity production a few yrs ago. DUV (deep ultraviolet) is continue to the workhorse of the marketplace.

Chris Miller, an assistant professor at the Fletcher University of Legislation and Diplomacy at Tufts College, told CNBC that chipmakers want to use the narrowest wavelength of light-weight probable in lithography so that they can fit extra transistors onto every piece of silicon. The TSMC chips in the latest Apple iPhones, which ended up developed with ASML’s EUV machines, have all-around 10 billion transistors on them.

Developing the new equipment

Higher NA is set to be even

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Samsung Electronics wants to dominate cutting-edge chipmaking

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS (SE) is a behemoth. The South Korean tech company is the crown jewel of the mighty Samsung chaebol, as the country’s conglomerates are known. It makes more smartphones than any other company in the world, as well as home-entertainment systems and appliances. It dominates the manufacturing of memory chips, which are used to store data on electronic devices and whose price has been pushed up by the global semiconductor shortage. SE’s annual revenues of $200bn are not much lower than those of Apple, the most valuable firm in history, and it is sitting on a cash pile of $100bn.

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Now both SE and its parent group, whose name means “three stars”, are entering a critical new chapter. In August Lee Jae-yong, the scion of the family which founded Samsung in 1938, was released from prison, where he spent two stints after a conviction for his involvement in a bribery scandal. He is finally taking full control of the empire from his late father, Lee Kun-hee, who died last year. Succession was complicated first by the elder Lee’s six-year coma, then by his son’s bribery conviction, linked to SE’s efforts to win the government’s backing for a merger of two Samsung subsidiaries that would cement his control.

Free at last, Mr Lee has grand plans for the company, which he wants to become as dominant in cutting-edge logic chips, used for processing information, as it already is in memory and smartphones. That will pit SE head-to-head with chipmaking powerhouses such as TSMC of Taiwan and America’s Intel, and thrust it into a fierce global contest over one of the world’s most strategic industries.

On October 7th SE confirmed it will manufacture some of the world’s most advanced logic microprocessors, based on its novel “gate-all-around” architecture with transistors measuring three nanometres (billionths of a metre), in 2022. It also surprised analysts by announcing a plan to mass-produce two-nanometre chips from 2025. It is forecast to invest an eye-watering $37bn or so in capital expenditure across its businesses this year. And it is winning new customers, such as Nvidia, an American chip designer, and Tesla, an electric-car maker.

The outcome of Mr Lee’s gamble will have profound consequences—and not just for Samsung. It matters to South Korea, whose president justified Mr Lee’s parole as being in the national interest, given the chaebol’s importance to the economy. And it will influence the global semiconductor industry, the critical nature of which has been underscored by the worldwide chip shortage. To ensure success, the man whom acquaintances describe as shy, decent and astute must also summon a degree of ruthlessness.

SE is a complex corporate creature with a strategic challenge and underwhelming stockmarket performance. It is best understood as divided into two main businesses. The first makes “sets”: smartphones, televisions and household

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