The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Big test for EUV; multi-beam in Russia; Apple’s foundry biz; book-to-bill.


Has extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography finally turned the corner after numerous delays and setbacks? The big test for EUV could reside at TSMC. “TSMC ordered two new EUV tools (from ASML), and is expected to use four EUV tools in total (with the two new orders) for its 10nm process (likely one layer, ramping in 2016 or 2017). EUV remains far from ready for broad adoption, in our view, but recent progress is encouraging, and TSMC may spark more rapid industry adoption if successful at 10nm,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, in a new research note. “(TSMC) plans to upgrade its existing two EUV tools to the latest NXE:3350B platform. This will become an important proof point for whether EUV will be ready for production or whether problems will persist and create further adoption delays.”

Mapper Lithography has selected SPTS Technologies’ chemical vapor deposition (CVD) systems for Mapper’s new fab-like production facility in Moscow. Mapper will use SPTS’ deep reactive ion etch (DRIE) module to create through silicon via holes with high dimensional accuracy, a critical requirement in the production of electron-beam lenses for its maskless lithography technology. Mapper also selected SPTS’ plasma enhanced CVD system (PECVD) for the fab.

As reported, Samsung Electronics has agreed to produce the next application processors on a foundry basis for Apple, according to the Korea Times. Samsung will make the chips in partnership with GlobalFoundries.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted a book-to-bill ratio of 0.93 in October, according to SEMI. This compares to 0.94 in September.

Advantest has launched a new multi-purpose parametric measurement unit (PMU) module, the T2000 PMU32E, to enhance its T2000 platform’s capabilities in testing digital, analog and power-management system-on-chip (SoC) devices.

The worldwide tablet market is expected to see a massive deceleration in 2014 with year-over-year growth slowing to 7.2%, down from 52.5% in 2013, according to IDC. At the core of this slowdown is the expectation that 2014 will represent the first full year of decline in Apple iPad shipments.


Diogenes Cicero says:

EUV turned the corner? The war in Viet Nam kept turning the same corner. So did the supersonic transport. It was ironic that EUV (e-ray) and maskless (e-beam direct write) articles appeared side by side. Academics had convinced VCs that optical lithography was running out of gas, but VCs wouldn’t invest in x-ray or e-beam direct write, so they changed their names. Since then, billions have been invested in EUV/x-ray and maskless/ebeam direct write. At least ASLM continues to sell at least two profitable 193i scanners for every unprofitable EUV/x-ray tool they don’t see. But Mapper has 250 employees and no sales. How is this possible? Who is the greater fool?

memister says:

It’s hard to see EUV being useful for just one layer. If one layer requires it, several layers will need the same resolution. Four tools for 10 nm, far fewer than how many immersion scanners for 28 nm for more than 100,000 wafers per month. Intel will already be producing 10 nm in 2015-2016, TSMC lacks the first-to-market motivation as well to use EUV at 10 nm.

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