EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) lithographic tools are expensive. Each EUV tool is close to 150 million euros, and many are needed in a single state-of-the-art semiconductor and processor factory.
In other words, TSMC or Samsung have hundreds of them in their factories, so the investment exceeds billions of euros in material. In the future, the cost of each new generation EUV tool will exceed 300 million euros.
In addition, many special tools are also needed such as the membrane that contains layers that absorb DUV and IR radiation. In other words, once we add up all the expenses, setting up a factory of this type seems impossible, unless there is state money involved or you are a company established as TSMS, intel or Samsung.
Everyone wants a more cost-effective way to produce chips, since lithography alone consumes about 35% of the cost of a 3nm compute node. Imagine if there was a way to break this trend and lower costs. Well there is.
A future with cheaper processors is possible
Last week Applied Materials, the world’s second-largest maker of semiconductor equipment, announced it has a possible solution. This is the Centura Sculpta tool, a new tool capable of performing a new step in the process, “pattern modelling”.
According to Applied Materials, the Sculpta tool could be used to cut the use of EUV lithography by up to half on some layers. If true, this would reshape the industry’s cost structure and allow prices for all technology products to fall.
Their creators they say that with this new process we could see a potential reduction of 4.5 billion dollars in demand for EUV by 2030 and that both TSMC, Samsung and Intel could use it in their next 2nm processes. we will see the processors tomorrow if they are cheaper.