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Intel invests US$2.1 billion in tools maker ASML to enable smaller chip circuits

Agam Shah | July 10, 2012
Intel will take a stake in semiconductor tools company ASML and invest in its research and development efforts, to advance manufacturing technologies that will help Intel produce smaller and more power-efficient chips, the chip maker announced Monday.

Throwing a few more billion dollars at the problem should allow ASML to accelerate the development of EUV tools, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

The current tools use ultraviolet light at a 93-nm wavelength to transfer circuit patterns onto silicon wafers using masks. "With each new technology generation, using that big wavelength to make teenier and teenier transistors gets harder and harder," Brookwood said.

EUV has a wavelength in the 10-nm range, Brookwood said.

"So you're going from using this big wavelength to decreasing it by a factor of eight. You have a much finer point to create these images on the wafer," Brookwood said.

Intel's investment in ASML's R&D is a smart move as it will result in cost savings over time by helping it move to 450-mm wafers, Brookwood said.

 

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