GlobalFoundries wants to use euv for 7nm production

GlobalFoundries is starting a five-year project to use euv technology in the production of chips. The manufacturer wants to use ASML’s EUV chip production machines for the 7nm process. The project is worth $500 million.

The project includes the establishment of an Advanced Patterning and Productivity Center in New York State to accelerate the adoption of extreme ultraviolet lithography for actual production. GlobalFoundries is collaborating with Suny Polytechnic Institute, and IBM and Tokyo Electron are also involved. GlobalFoundries acquired IBM’s chip division in 2014.

Among other things, the research center will use an ASML NXE:3300B scanner. Such a machine has recently been installed at the Suny Polytechnic Institute itself. Among other things, the project will focus on increasing production. ASML announced last year that the production capacity of the NXE:3300B is more than a thousand exposed wafers per day. At the end of January, the company reported that the production speed of the NXE:3350B is 1250 wafers per day.

Intel hopes to deploy euv “sometime after 7nm production starts,” William Holt, executive vice president at Intel recently told EETimes. The deployment can then potentially significantly reduce the costs for 7nm production: until euv can be deployed, chip manufacturers must apply multi-patterning to current immersion lithography technology to apply the small structures to the wafer. This requires multiple steps and masks, increasing production time and costs.

Euv is the intended successor to immersion for applying the minuscule lines for chips to wafers. The euv machines use light with a wavelength of 13.5nm, with which the small structures can be applied in a single step. Last year, the tech institute Imec calculated that 34 lithography steps are required for 7nm via immersion and 9 via euv.