FAB FOR HIRE TSMC has joined Intel in investing in ASML's research programme on 450mm wafer production and Extreme Ultraviolet lithography.
ASML produces the machines used by chipmakers such as Intel and TSMC to 'print' wafers and the firm has been looking at both increasing the wavelength of lithographic techniques and the physical size of wafers. Last month Intel invested €3.3bn in ASML. Over the weekend ASML announced that TSMC will be putting the best part of €1.1bn into the firm.
According to ASML, TSMC will be spending €276m on ASML's research and development programme and a further €836m to buy a five per cent stake in the company. For comparison, Intel made a €829m investment into ASML's research and development programme and €2.5bn investment in the firm.
Shang-yi Chiang, TSMC EVP and co-COO said, "One of the biggest challenges facing IC scaling today is how to effectively control the escalating wafer manufacturing cost. We are confident that the additional funding for ASML's research and development programs will help secure and accelerate EUV development activities, in parallel with the necessary focus on improved performance of existing optical lithography tools and speed up the deployment of new technologies for 450mm wafers. This effort will help the industry control wafer cost, and therefore protect the economic viability of Moore's Law."
ASML said it expects to have 450mm wafers and its Extreme Ultraviolet lithography technique ready for use by the end of the decade. What the firm didn't say is which of its high profile partners will take first crack at the technology. µ