Considering its pre-production NXT:3100 EUV lithography tool was thought to carry a price tag above €50 million a pop, while having a throughput in the single digit wafer per hour range, ASML's production tool; NXE:3100 looks a bit of bargain at an ASP of €42 million, given the projected throughput of 60wph.
According to ASML’s, president and CEO, Eric Meurice during a conference call to discuss 2Q financial results, a 6th EUV tool is expected to ship soon, while three others are running wafers at customer sites. The others are used in R&D facilities.
As to the NXE production tools, revenue recognition is expected from 2 systems in the third quarter of 2011 at a combined value of approximately €80 million. More are expected to be shipped in 2012, according to Meurice.
“By mid-July we will have also shipped a total of five NXE:3100 Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) scanners with several customers having already exposed hundreds of wafers with resolutions as small as 18nm on this lithography platform for the future,” added Meurice in a press statement.
Much of the throughput of the NXE tool is dictated by the light source, which has proven to be a bugbear for ASML and its light source partners. However, ASML remains confident that the roadmap being adhered to will see the NXE models offer the claimed 60wph. Meurice acknowledged that mistakes had been made in not allocating more resources to suppliers to get the power output of the light sources to the required levels for better wafer throughput.
Though the 60wph target could be deemed as ‘on the low side’ of what the industry wants, which has long been wanting comparable throughput levels with immersion tools to keep costs down, Meurice had a scary answer for those awaiting EUV tools.
According to the CEO, EUV could be responsible for processing 15-layers per wafer for leading edge devices should the technology be adopted on schedule. Should there be any unforeseen delays then immersion tools would have to be employed with double and triple patterning for between 30-40 layers, significantly adding to the cost and complexity of the lithography steps.