Intel Foundry Achieves High NA EUV Milestone: Preparing for 14A Production 

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Intel Foundry made a declaration that it possesses the second High Numerical Aperture Extreme Ultra Violet (High NA EUV) machine in Oregon. The ASML Twinscan EXE:5000 is a crucial equipment for the company’s 14A process node planned for 2025 and is only second to ASML’s first machine. It is one of the pioneering machines costing approximately $400M that promises to yield superior chips in the foreseeable future.

Intel High NA EUV Milestone Prepares for 14A Production

Recently, Intel Foundry made an announcement that the first tool in Oregon has been installed. The installation of a tool is a significant step, but several other steps are involved in transitioning from an installed machine to actual chip production.

The ASML machine incorporates multiple components that can be individually tested and upgraded. Intel affirms that because of their longstanding collaboration with ASML on this tool, they maintain confidence in the 14A production schedule.

High NA EUV is projected to be utilized by 2025 and integrated into Intel’s 14A. It is anticipated by Intel that High NA EUV will be mainstream in various process nodes for a considerable duration.

A comparative perspective of lithography trends from 1985 to the anticipated future till 2025 is presented by Intel Foundry, derived from Zeiss and ASML’s observations.

A detailed analysis of EUV commercialization was performed by Intel, which opted for DUV over EUV for the 10nm process. This decision has left an indelible mark in the industry for causing a large delay in the production of Intel’s 10nm. Moreover, this allowed the advancement of Arm processors and AMD CPUs, utilizing TSMC, to outpace Intel Xeon. Preceding the catastrophic 10nm switch, alternative solutions could achieve a minor boost through architecture, but Intel retained process leadership and chip production superiority. A significant reason behind Intel Foundry’s discussion about fabs is to guarantee Intel Products of punctual deliveries and to articulate its reliability to external customers. Failing to integrate a fundamental technology at the right time can result in a substandard product. Hence, Intel is now focusing on communicating this message as it pushes to reclaim leadership by 2024.

In addition, Intel Foundry is advancing a range of supplemental technologies in tandem with the development of High NA EUV.

Today’s chips are immensely intricate. High NA EUV machines, designed by ASML, are crafted to support increased wafer throughput. However, they come with a higher price tag. Consequently, the application of High NA EUV will be predominantly in the critical layers of chip manufacturing and not the entire process.

Concluding Remarks

Intel Foundry is set to achieve its first light with fundamental exposure. The anticipation is that the new tool will be functional by 2024. The focus then shifts to the technology development for 14A in Oregon, with hopes of commencing production by 2025.

It is crucial to point out that TSMC has been at the forefront in terms of technology for several years. The value of competition from Intel Foundry cannot be overstated, as it implies the production of superior and more affordable chips for the industry.

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Samantha Rattner
Samantha Rattner

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