Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will stay at the forefront of technology with the acquisition of a state-of-the-art chipmaking tool, executives said on Thursday.
The “high-NA EUV” tool produces beams of focused light that create the microscopic circuitry on computer chips used in phones, laptops, cars and artificial intelligence devices such as smart speakers.
EUV stands for extreme ultra-violet, the wavelength of light used by the most advanced machines at Dutch company ASML, from which the Taiwan-based chipmaker will obtain the tool.
“TSMC will bring in high-NA EUV scanners in 2024 to develop the associated infrastructure and patterning solution needed for customers to fuel innovation,” said YJ Mii, senior vice president of research and development.
Mii did not say when the device, the second generation of EUV lithography tools for making smaller and faster chips, would be used for mass production.
Intel Competing With TSMC
TSMC rival Intel has said it will use the machines in production by 2025 and that it would be the first to receive the machine. As Intel enters the business of making chips that other companies design, it will be competing with TSMC for those customers.
Kevin Zhang, senior vice president of business development, clarified that TSMC would not be ready for production with the new tool in 2024 but that it would be used mostly for research with partners.
“The importance of TSMC having it in 2024 means they get to the most advanced technology faster,” TechInsights’ chip economist Dan Hutcheson said.
“High-NA EUV is the next major innovation in the technology that will put the chip technology at the lead,” Hutcheson said.
On Thursday, TSMC also gave more details on the technology for its 2-nanometre chips, which it said are on track for volume production in 2025. The company said it has spent 15 years developing so-called “nano-sheet” transistor technology.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell