New tools for the production of ASML chips will double in price – up to $380 million. 10-20 units have already been booked

by alex

ASML said its latest High-NA extreme ultraviolet (EUV) chip manufacturing tools, called High-NA Twinscan EXE, will cost about $380 million each – more than double the cost of current systems Low-NA EUV lithographs, which cost about $183 million

The company has received 10-20 initial orders from companies such as Intel and SK Hynix, and plans to produce 20 High-NA systems annually by 2028 to meet demand. High-NA EUV technology should be a significant breakthrough, as it can improve print resolution to 8 nm compared to 13 nm in current Low-NA EUV tools, TechPowerUp reports. It will make it possible to produce transistors that are almost 1.7 times smaller, which means a threefold increase in the density of transistors on the chip. Achieving this level of precision is critical to the production of sub-3nm chips, which is the industry goal for 2025-2026. This also eliminates the need for complex double templating techniques currently in use.

However, higher performance comes at a price—literally and figuratively. The hefty $380 million price tag for each High-NA system poses financial challenges for chip makers. In addition, larger High-NA tools require a complete reconfiguration of chip manufacturing facilities. The halved image field also requires a rethink of chip design. As a result, implementation timelines differ between companies – Intel intends to deploy High-NA EUV on an advanced 1.8nm (18A) node, while TSMC is taking a more conservative approach, potentially only planning implementation in 2030, and is in no rush to use these lithographs machines, since the company’s components are already developing well and in a timely manner.

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Interestingly, the installation process for ASML's 150,000 kg High-NA Twinscan EXE system requires 250 boxes, 250 engineers and six months to complete. Thus, installation and operation of this delicate equipment will be as complex as production.

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