ASML Semiconductor

June 12, 2018
Fig.1: Basic tri-layer resist

ASML’s multiplier effect on the rest of the semiconductor industry

The long-term growth of the semiconductor industry is the result of the principle that the power, cost and time required for every computation on a digital electronic device can be reduced by shrinking the size of transistors on chips. In 2013, chip-makers routinely produced electronic chip features with conducting line sizes of 28 nm, compared to typical line sizes of 10, 000 nm in the early 1970s, resulting in an increase in the number of transistors on leading chips from several thousand to over two billion. This trend was first observed by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965, and is referred to as ‘Moore’s Law’. Moore’s Law has resulted in our information society with fast wired and wireless communications – built on affordable chips.

ASML is uniquely positioned in the semiconductor industry; our focus on innovation with partners and highly skilled employees has a direct effect on the technological possibilities for our customers (and their customers as well). By optimizing value for ourselves, we increase value for the rest of the semiconductor industry – our multiplier effect.

Increasing energy efficiency

Moore’s Law also has an impact on the energy usage of chips. Smaller geometries allow for much lower electrical currents to operate the chip reducing their energy consumption and aiding the proliferation of affordable computing. Using advanced semiconductors in industrial and consumer products often provides economic benefits, user friendliness and increased safety. Our success in developing machines that produce ever smaller and more energy-efficient chips is crucial in enabling our customers to manufacture more energy-efficient electronics and ultimately more environmentally friendly devices for end users. For instance, one well-known electronics maker introduced a 30% energy efficiency gain on its tablet computer after a redesign with a more advanced chip, which was made possible by a more advanced ASML machine.

More powerful chips open up new possibilities

The technology revolution powered by semiconductors has brought many advantages: not only can information be more widely disseminated than ever before, but affordable chip intelligence has also enabled industry and service sectors to create and distribute products and ideas at lightning speed. Improvements to lithography technology enable the continuous introduction of a diverse range of new and ever improving electronic products, which enhance the quality of people's lives. Recent examples include using digital detector chips, rather than analogue ones, in Pet-CT medical scanners, which double the imaging resolution and make it easier to detect tumors; the introduction of self-navigating cars; affordable high-quality video calls on smartphones that keep the increasingly mobile population connected to their loved ones; as well as a range of ever more affordable sensors that improve safety, healthcare and logistics.

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